Thurrock’s tower block residents are at risk of death because of Tory cuts to the Essex Fire Service

Grenfell Tower was a terrible tragedy that should never have happened, and it will go down as one of the worst tragedies in British history. But in the wake of Grenfell Tower, residents in tower blocks across the country are now worried, nervous and frightened.

On Sunday, 18 June, I was contacted by an Essex firefighter. I am keeping his name anonymous. The firefighter informed me of the effects Tory cuts are having on the Fire Service in Thurrock, Essex. 

Thurrock’s Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price has voted for austerity measures including cuts to welfare, the Police Force and Fire Service. Essex now has 600 fewer Police Officers compared to 2010.

Jackie Doyle-Price’s supported cuts to the Fire Service in Essex have put Thurrock’s tower block residents at risk of a Grenfell Tower tragedy. There are roughly 14 tower blocks across Thurrock and in the event of a fire, the Fire Service in Thurrock no longer has access to a hydraulic lift because of Tory cuts. The Fire Service has to assess the situation and if a hydraulic lift is required then they have to contact Southend-on-Sea which is nearly 30 miles away. It could take up to 45 minutes for the hydraulic lift to arrive in Thurrock, possibly longer depending on traffic, by which time any residents trapped in a tower block are at risk of death. 

The firefighter has already spoken to some local residents in Thurrock’s tower blocks, and they were unaware of the scale of Fire Service cuts in Essex. Many are now very angry at Jackie Doyle-Price and the Tories for these irresponsible cuts.

Tory austerity is killing people. Disabled people are dying, robbed of their dignity; pensioners no longer have access to care due to social care cuts, and despite the Tories being warned in 2015 that their cuts to the Police Force and Armed Forces were putting Britain at risk of terrorism, they carried on cutting. Britain has since had three terror attacks in 2017. But the final straw is the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The Tories’ irresponsible cuts to the Emergency Services and Armed Forces must be reversed. How many more terror attacks and tragedies will it take for Theresa May to listen? 

This Tory Government has blood on its hands and I am extremely angry that Thurrock residents are now at risk of a Grenfell Tower tragedy because of unnecessary, irresponsible and dangerous Tory cuts to the Fire Service. 

I have contacted Thurrock Labour on behalf on the firefighter for an action plan to be put in place to hold Jackie Doyle-Price and the Tory Government to account. The firefighter will also join forces with Thurrock Labour to talk to local residents in these tower blocks and hand out literature. 

Enough is enough. 

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