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No council tax cut would mean 'more fire engines for Richmond', claims London Assembly member Stephen Knight
Richmond would be getting two extra fire engines if council tax was not being cut, Greater London Authority (GLA) member Stephen Knight has claimed.
Coun Knight, also the leader of the opposition at Richmond Council, said if Boris Johnson was not introducing a 10 per cent reduction in the GLA portion of council tax, which saves Londoners 7p per week, proposed fire cuts would not be necessary.
The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, the political body that runs London Fire Brigade (LFB), is consulting on plans intended to save £28.8m.
Plans include closing 12 fire stations, removing 18 fire engines, relocating four fire engines and reducing the number of fire fighter posts by 520. Twickenham will gain one fire engine.
Coun Knight said: “If there was not this bit shaved off the council tax that’s not even noticeable we would not be faced with having to make any of these cuts.
“If we were not cutting the overall number of fire engines in London we would not be getting one fire engine, but two fire engines.
“It’s not about shaving bits off the council tax it’s about keeping Londoners safe.”
LFB funding is 50 per cent funded by Government grant and 27 per cent by council tax.
Just a handful of people turned out to the meeting on the future of the fire service in Kingston and Richmond boroughs on June 4.
Fire chiefs told residents Twickenham’s response times for the second engine would need to speed up by one minute 20 seconds.
Andy Cane, Richmond borough commander, said the plans seemed positive for Richmond.
He said: “The process is still running so it has a long way to go but the proposals, if they transpire, could be better for the borough.”
The consultation runs until June 17 and is available from london-fire.gov.uk/LSP5.asp.
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