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Daily Record
Daily Record
Kathryn Anderson

Perthshire Conservatives want Scottish Government to reverse "crazy" Scottish Fire and Rescue Service budget cuts

Perth and Kinross Council's (PKC) Conservative group is calling for PKC's leader and chief executive to request additional Scottish Government funding to reverse the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) cuts.

As part of the £36 million of cuts the SFRS has to make over the next four years, it is decommissioning one of three appliances in Perth and reducing its workforce.

This week the Conservatives will table a motion urging PKC's chief executive Thomas Glen and SNP council leader Grant Laing to meet with the cabinet secretary for Justice and Home Affairs Angela Constance and with community planning partners in the SFRS to express PKC's "serious concerns" and "to call upon the Scottish Government to provide sufficient additional funding to reverse these cuts".

The motion will be tabled at the final meeting of Perth and Kinross Council before summer recess, which takes place on Wednesday, June 28.

The special motion is being tabled by Conservative group leader John Duff and Bailie Chris Ahern.

Conservative councillor John Duff outside Perth and Kinross Council headquarters, Perth (Perthshire Advertiser)
Bailie Chris Ahern (Angus Forbes)

The motion states: "These latest cuts follow on from significant underinvestment in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service over many years, including the loss of nearly 600 wholetime operational firefighter posts in the decade to 2021-22, and response times for emergency call-outs rising every year since the Fire and Rescue Service was centralised.

"While these latest cuts are purported to be temporary, the reduction of a fire appliance and firefighters from Perth will place our communities and firefighters at greater risk and is of significant concern to this council.

Cllr Duff told the Local Demcracy Reporting Service the Scottish Government's budget settlement will "considerably increase the risk not only to our communities but to the firefighters themselves".

The Highland Perthshire councillor said: "I am bringing this motion to highlight the genuine concerns of the residents, businesses and firefighters in Perth and Kinross. The cuts forced on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service by the Scottish Government's budget settlement will considerably increase the risk not only to our communities but to the firefighters themselves. Our full-time, retained and volunteer crews do a tremendous job and deserve much better. These cuts need to be reconsidered and the Scottish Government needs to increase its investment in our Fire and Rescue Service."

Bailie Chris Ahern called the cuts "crazy".

The Conservative Perth City Centre councillor said: "This Scottish Government has been cutting funding to public services for years and now they are potentially putting the public at risk with these latest crazy cuts.

"Residents’ safety could be at risk as the number of firefighters and vehicles will be cut. That is why this motion calls for the chief exec and leader of the council to meet with his own party's cabinet secretary to express our concerns at these cuts."

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