Tower Hamlets mayor urges government to protect London Fire Brigade budget from cuts
PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 September 2020
The mayor has warned that London Fire Brigade’s budget could be cut unless it gets government help.
John Biggs urged London Fire Brigade (LFB) commissioner Andy Roe and deputy mayor for London, Fiona Twycross, to help protect the service’s coffers.
Mayor Biggs said: “I’m deeply worried that the London Fire Brigade might see its budget reduced because of the financial impact of Covid-19.
“City Hall and local councils are facing huge budget gaps because of increased costs and reduced income, yet the government is refusing to reimburse us for the cost of Covid.
“Tower Hamlets is the most densely populated place in the UK, with large numbers of high-rise buildings, and we’ve already suffered a reduction in fire engines and a fire station under Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London.
“Further cuts to our frontline emergency services is simply not an option.”
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He vowed to continue lobbying government to provide much needed cash for City Hall and local authorities.
A government spokesperson said: “Fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work and overall will receive around £2.3billion in 2020/21.
“The government has also provided £3.7bn to local authorities to support their response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Greater London Authority (GLA) receiving £9.3million in March and a further £9.2mn in May.
“It is a matter for [Sadiq Khan] to set the budget for functional bodies, including the London fire commissioner. “Decisions on how resources are best deployed are also a matter for [Mayor Khan] and the commissioner.”
Fiona Twycross, whose remit covers fire and resilience at City Hall, said: “[Mayor Khan] is doing everything in his power to protect the frontline services Londoners depend on, but without government support he will be left with no choice other than to make significant cuts across the mayoral bodies - including Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and the Greater London Authority.”
City Hall has published a breakdown of savings mayoral organisations have been asked to find this year and next, which includes smaller savings for the Met and LFB.
London Fire Brigade’s director of corporate services, Sue Budden, said: “Our priority is making sure that any savings do not impact upon the vital service we deliver every day.
“It is vital that any savings we make do not prevent us from continuing our work.”
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