Mayor Lutfur Rahman accused of failing to act over fire station cuts
PUBLISHED: 18:37 13 November 2012 | UPDATED: 18:39 13 November 2012
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman has been accused of "failing to stand up for residents" over the possible closure of two of the borough's fire stations.
The council’s Labour Group has slammed the mayor for staying silent during a meeting with the London Fire Authority chief, Assembly Member James Cleverly held at a meeting of London Councils, a representative body for London’s local authorities.
Mr Rahman attended the meeting on Tuesday, where possible cuts to the London Fire Brigade were discussed. Both Whitechapel and Bow fire stations are on a shortlist of 17 across London at risk of closure following budget cuts scheduled for 2013-15.
Following the meeting Labour’s spokesperson for a safer borough cllr Abdal Ullah said: “If Boris Johnson accepts these dangerous proposals we will lose four fire engines and many more fire fighters, putting great strain on the fire service and putting residents at risk.
“Mayor Rahman must explain why he is failing to stand up for residents against these fire station closures. Voters won’t forgive the mayor for sitting silent on such an important issue, he has a job to do and it’s time he started doing it.”
The London Fire Authority has drawn up the list of fire stations at risk ahead of a debate scheduled for next Friday, with the size of next year’s budget due to be revealed in December. The Authority has been told to save £65million over two years.
Tower Hamlets council’s deputy mayor and cabinet member for community safety Cllr. Ohid Ahmed insisted the council would oppose any proposed closures.
“On October 18, long before they [Labour] had woken up to the problem, the mayor issued a statement condemning these cuts”, he said.
“We’ve been liaising since then with the Fire Brigades Union and will be meeting soon to discuss how best to fight Boris’ attack on the safety of our communities.”
Labour responded that the cllr Ahmed had neglected to explain why the mayor had failed to raise his concerns at Tuesday’s meeting.