On 18 June 2017, I wrote an article about Fire Service cuts in Essex and highlighted the dangers these cuts posed to tower block residents living in Thurrock. I now have details of these cuts to the Essex Fire Service.
I have acquired some detailed figures into Tory staffing cuts at Essex Fire Service. Overall employment costs are £129,000 (1.5%) under budget for the two months to 31 May 2017.
Spend for the whole-time firefighters is £136,000 (2.8%) under budget, this reflects headcount being lower than budget.
For on-call firefighters, spend is £60,000 (9.1%) under budget. This comprises two main elements, actual average headcount at 491 has been consistently below budget at 519 this year, this results in an underspend of £30,000 to May. Activity levels have decreased and are lower than budget, this accounts for an underspend of £30,000 to date.
Support staff pay is £73,000 (3.9%) over budget for the last two months to 31 May. This comprised of an underspend of £1,000 on directly employed staff (there is further adjustments required to the budget to accommodate the Job Evaluation impact for the current reporting year), an overspend of £3,000 on Secondary Contract Staff and an overspend of £71,000 on casual and temporary staff.
Directly employed support staff full-time equivalent (FTE) headcount was 261.2 at 31 May, this shows a net increase of 4.6 FTE or 1.8% since the beginning of the year. A further point worth highlighting is that we now have 14.8 (5%) vacancies against the budgeted establishment. There were also 33 Temporary Support Staff engaged to the end of May 2017.
This takes the total Support Staff to 294.2 for May 2017 (18.2 FTE above budget).
Whole-time firefighter numbers at 612.5 are 17.5 (2.8%) under phased budget at the end of May.
Irresponsible Tory cuts to the Fire Service across the country are putting firefighters under immense pressure and public safety in danger, and it has taken the Grenfell Tower tragedy to highlight the seriousness of these cuts.
Despite the population growing, the Tories are not investing in infrastructure or public services like the Fire Service, but instead they are cutting them. How many more people must die in the name of Tory austerity in Britain?
Enough is enough.