LETTER: Please don’t let Steve Barclay MP get on his soap box over Manea fire station

I have served this county for 25 years as a fire fighter and since the Conservatives came to power in 2010 the budget for the fire service has dropped considerably.

Mr Barclay is a member of the ruling party that set this budget, how does he have the nerve to back a budget cut with one hand and then complain when a possible cut to services is announced in the county he serves.

He often has meeting with the Fire Authority leader and chief fire officer, what do they discuss?

Maybe they talk about the officers that retire then after 28 days return to work after receiving the pension lump sums, and extend their contracts to receive promotion?

Fire calls in the county are on the way down, when I started the busiest station at Cambridge had over 4,000 calls a year now it attends less than 2,500, there use to be 19 fire fighters on a shift at Cambridge, that is now down to 12, at no time did Mr Barclay complain when these cut backs took place, or when Huntingdon crews lost the use of the rescue vehicle and it’s attendances where cut.

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Many stations in Cambridgeshire work on an on call basis, they receive a pager call when they are required to go on an operational call and what a great job they do, during the night there are only four fire stations at work for the whole of Cambridgeshire, whole time crews rely on the back up of on call stations.

However, more and more on call stations are unable to provide cover during the day when only seven whole time stations are at work, this is due to more and more people working away from their home and village, it is not surprising that cuts to the fire service have to happen.

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Manea station has always struggled for cover and so have other stations in the county, it is however covered by the on call at Chatteris and March.

It would be great if every town and village had it’s own station and fire crew but that is not going to happen, people cannot commit to training, staying in their village and being available for the time required to crew the fire engines.

Please do not let Mr Steve Barclay MP get on his soap box about Manea station again, his party created the budget for the Fire Service so he should accept the consequence of their actions.

He should also let the people who are appointed to run the county fire service do their job.


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