Last Thursday I made the following speech at Full Council:
Since the leaked memo last October revealed a secret list of London fire stations facing being axed, Islington Labour has been campaigning hard to save Islington’s Fire Stations. It is testament to this campaign and the strength of feeling among local people that the Tory Mayor Boris Johnson was forced to rethink his plans to close our Fire Station on Upper Street. It is appalling that in one of the most densely populated parts of the country, Boris Johnson is still trying to push ahead with his plans to close Clerkenwell (and nearby Kingsland) fire stations.
We have held numerous street stalls and been out knocking on doors, asking people to sign our petition to Save Islington’s Fire Stations.
You know what, every single person we have asked in St Peter’s, Boris Johnson’s own ward, has signed the petition to save our fire stations from his reckless cuts. People have queued up to sign the petition. Mums and dads have called out all their other family members to sign it. Whatever political party people support, no one supports these cuts to our local fire stations.
The Fire Brigade is facing cuts of almost £65million over the next two years – a quarter of its budget.
London is facing unprecedented cuts to its emergency services. This is due to the irresponsible actions of Tory Mayor Boris Johnson and his Tory friends in Government. Reckless cuts to frontline policing, the fire brigade, the ambulance service and hospital Accident &Emergency departments threaten the safety and security of Islington residents.
The Metropolitan Police’s budget has been cut by 20%. Our local people stations are being closed. Many wards across the borough have lost their dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Sergeants.
The London Ambulance Service has also received massive budget cuts, with hundreds of frontline ambulance staff at risk of losing their jobs. Accident & Emergency waiting times are at their highest levels for years, yet Tory-Lib Dem cuts mean seven A&E departments across London face closure by 2020.
Enough is enough.
London’s fire fighters are heroes. They have selflessly served their community – particularly when the capital has faced its biggest challenges, whether through war, rioting or terrorist attacks. Our fire fighters deserve better. As do our police, doctors, nurses and ambulance drives.
It is reassuring to see Islington residents coming together to send a strong message to the Tory Mayor and his friends in government. Let’s unite to save our local fire stations.