• meeting the Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Phil Garrigan

    I met with the Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), Phil Garrigan, to discuss the ongoing impact of Government cuts to funding. Since 2010 the MFRS has faced a real terms 50% funding cut by the Tories. With over £13 million lost, the impact is biting – 300 fewer firefighters, and a reduction from 42 to 24 fire engines. Our communities are in greater danger from fires as a direct result.

    Our fire officers are doing everything they can in the face of these terrible cuts – they were outstanding when tackling the large blaze on Parr industrial estate recently. The Government needs to recognise that excellence and goodwill from fire officers can only go so far and must provide them with the resources they need to support the brave work they do.

    I was pleased that in spite of the financial pressures Phil and the fire and rescue authority are committed to the building of a new fire station in St Helens and retaining the current level of crews and engines. I will be working with Phil, and our local MFRS representatives to deliver this commitment.

    The Labour Party has committed to reinvesting in our fire and rescue services. I call on the this Tory Government to reverse the cuts, give the fire service resources it needs and invest in the rebuilding of St Helens fire station.