ROSS KEMP FBU CAMPAIGN FILM ‘EVERY SECOND COUNTS’

September 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Latest News

ROSS KEMP

FBU CAMPAIGN FILM ‘EVERY SECOND COUNTS’

RELEASE 6 SEPTEMBER 2013

Supporting evidence

Mayor Boris Johnson has based his campaign to close 10 London fire stations and cut 552 frontline firefighters’ job on three carefully crafted messages.   The Mayor claims that there has been a “massive reduction” and a “sustained” or “steady” decline in deaths from fire. He claims that the first fire engine will arrive within the six minute target response time in “more parts of London.”  And before his re-election in May 2012 he claimed that “Under this Mayor there will be absolutely no reduction in fire cover.”   All three of these claims are untrue.

The lie about declining fire deaths

“Just since being mayor there’s been a colossal reduction in deaths by fire and incidents of fire.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 17 July 2013

“Londoners are seeing steady reductions in deaths from fire”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 19 June 2013

“There’s been a sustained reduction in deaths from fire over the last 10 years.”

Boris Johnson, Ask The Mayor, Central Hall Westminster, 12 June 2013

I will look forward to continuing reductions in incidents, fires and fire death”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 22 May 2013

“Our shared ambition is to make sure we keep reducing deaths by fire in London and keep improving fire cover in this city.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time 19 December 2012

Boris Johnson justifies the current proposal to close 10 London fire stations by claiming there is a steady decline in the number of fire deaths in London.

This is untrue. There has been an increase in the trend rate of annual deaths in fires in London since Boris Johnson was elected as Mayor in May 2008.

There have been 14 deaths in fires in the first quarter of the current year (2013/14), equivalent to 56 over 12 months, suggesting that the trend rate for annual deaths in fires will remain upward.

In the revised Fifth London Safety Plan published on Wednesday 10 July, Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson is careful not to repeat the Mayor’s claim that there is a ‘steady’ or ‘sustained’ fall in the annual number of fire deaths.  Instead, Commissioner Dobson says: “annually the numbers will fluctuate.” (Page 25, LSP5 July 2013)

Although there was a steep one-year fall in deaths from fire between 2003/04 and 2004/05 before Boris Johnson became Mayor, there has since been an increase in the trend rate of fatalities, both under LSP1 & 2 (2004/05 to 2007/08) and under LSP3 & 4 (2008/09 to 2012/13).

This was under the London Fire Brigade’s current station numbers and staffing levels.

Since Boris Johnson was elected as Mayor in May 2008, the average annual number of deaths in fires has slightly increased.  The annual figures are:

2008-09                38

2009-10                64

2010-11                61

2011-12                47

2012-13                48

Speaking at the ‘Ask The Mayor’ event at Central Hall Westminster on 12 June, Boris Johnson said:

“In the last 10 years deaths from fire have been cut, or incidents of fire have been cut by 50 per cent, deaths from fire have come down by a third, they came down by 18 per cent just in the last four years.”

The figures quoted by the Mayor do not appear to be related in any way to the LFEPA’s published record for deaths in fire.

The lie about better fire cover

“More boroughs will be brought within the minimum response times both for the first and the second appliance.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 17 July 2013

“What we are doing is bringing more parts of London within the minimum journey times both for the first and second fire appliance.”

Boris Johnson, Ask The Mayor, Central Hall Westminster, 12 June 2013

This statement is untrue. No boroughs will be brought within the minimum response time of under six minutes for the arrival of the first fire engine at a fire.

The Mayor’s claims are based on borough-wide averages that have not counted the actual street and ward areas that will be brought within the target response times.

In fact 12 times more wards, and nearly 14 times more people, will be pushed outside the minimum journey times as will be brought within them.

Only three wards in London will be brought within the target six minute response time for the first fire engine to arrive, having previously been above it (South Twickenham, Teddington, West Twickenham). These wards have a total population of 31,678.

Under the revised LSP5 plan published on 10 July, 38 wards will move from a response time below six minutes to a response time that misses the six minute target. These wards have a total population of 436,636.

So the number of people living in wards that will no longer meet the target response time as a result of the Mayor’s cuts is nearly 14 times the number who will be brought within the target response time.

The Mayor’s statements about the impact of LSP5 are contradicted by the LFEPA’s published forecast of how fire and rescue response times will change in London’s 649 council wards. These show that across London the cuts will lead to slower response times for nearly three times as many Londoners as will gain from reduced response times.

More than 3,476,000 people live in wards that will get slower response times while 1,265,120 people live in wards forecast to have faster response times. There are only five boroughs out of 33 where more people gain than either lose or experience no change: Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Harrow, and Richmond.

The LFEPA says there is a link between the risk of household fires and deprivation indicators.  But in the 100 most deprived wards in London, a million Londoners (997,110) will see their first appliance attendance time worsen while only 34,000 people living in these wards will see an improvement in their attendance times.

The lie about his plans

“Under this Mayor there will be absolutely no reduction in fire cover and we will continue to make London a safer city.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Budget Speech, 25 January 2012

“The reassurance that people can take from me and from LFEPA is that we will not do anything to degrade the London fire cover we have in London, quite the reverse.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 21 November 2012

“I will make sure that we take steps to protect fire cover in London and make sure we have the officers, the fire fighters we need that do a fantastic job and can keep incidents of fire and death from fire coming down and keep response times up.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 19 December 2012

The Mayor’s manifesto for the 2012 election made no mention of these cuts, or the fire station closures and reduction in cover they would require.

The only mention of the London Fire Brigade in the Mayor’s manifesto was that it was working on reducing CO2 emissions and that it would participate in the Mayor’s paid internship scheme.

Yet only five months after he was elected on this manifesto, Mayor Johnson’s plans to close up to 17 stations emerged.

Are the closures driven by the Mayor’s budget cuts or by the Fire Commissioner’s assessment of reduced fire risk in London?

The Mayor has consistently tried to duck responsibility for the closures and staffing reductions by saying that LSP5 was drawn up by London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson.

“What I take seriously is the view of those who consecrate their lives to fighting fire in our city and who say ‘actually it isn’t a question of cash, this is a question of what is the best disposition, what is the best configuration of fire services in London?’ ”

Boris Johnson, Mayor’s Question Time, 17 July 2013

They [London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson] would not have asked me to propose to London this fire safety plan if they did not believe that they could continue in that objective [“bringing down fire in this city”].”

Boris Johnson, Ask The Mayor, Central Hall Westminster, 12 June 2013

In answer to consultation responses that called for fire stations to be kept open and the cancellation of the Mayor’s imposed funding cuts of £45m over two years, London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson says:

“The Brigade is bound by the budget expectations that the Mayor sets for the service.

“It is for the Mayor to consider how much of the resources available to him should be spent on London’s fire and rescue service. The Authority is not able to redirect such funding away from other services and has to operate within spending limits specified by the Mayor.” (page 35, LSP5 July 2013)

 

London FBU, 6 September 2013

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