Yesterday I joined my London Labour Party colleagues to launch the 999 SOS campaign against the Conservative-led Government’s cuts. London’s emergency services are being decimated with cuts to seven A&E units, the London Ambulance Service, the Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police. The campaign is our chance to stand up for local areas, like Hammersmith and Fulham, and say no to cutting the services that keep us safe.
London’s Labour representatives – Assembly Members like myself, as well as MPs and councillors – will be working with local residents in every part of London to gather signatures for a petition that will be presented to the Mayor of London. This is part of a wider campaign that is taking place across London demanding that Boris thinks again about the impact of his cuts on the safety and security of residents, and to stand up for Londoners against the cuts being imposed by the Conservative-led government.
These cuts aren’t about back office workers, but frontline services that keep us safe. Since May 2010 the Metropolitan Police has lost 1,444 police officers and 1,960 PCSOs, and now its budget has been cut by 20% (£540m) by 2015. The threats of closing down seven A&Es would mean the remaining 24 would have to cover an extra 120,000 residents each. And the fire brigade is facing cuts amounting to a quarter of its budget in just two years, with the prospect of 30 fire stations, 30 fire engines and 840 firefighters at risk of being axed.
The implications for the safety of Londoners is all too apparent when you look at what this means borough-by-borough. Take, for example, Hammersmith and Fulham:
- 12 officers, 31 Sergeants and 48 PCSOs have been cut since 2010
- London Ambulance Service will lose £53million (19%) of it’s budget by 2015/16, resulting in 890 job cuts, of which 560 will be frontline staff
- Fulham fire station is at risk in Hammersmith and Fulham as the London Fire Brigade is faced with £65million of cuts it must make this year and next.
The coalition is cutting too far and too fast – and the Mayor isn’t standing up to government on behalf of London. The safety and security of Londoners is at risk as a result of cuts to emergency services being pushed through by the Government and the Mayor.
Our police, NHS, and fire-fighters do a fantastic job keeping us all safe, now it’s our turn to repay that gratitude by making sure they have the resources needed to do their jobs.
These cuts are short-sighted and will fundamentally undermine the ability of our emergency services to keep us safe. It is time for Londoners to come together and tell the Mayor and government to think again.
By working together we can send a clear message to the government and the Mayor: enough is enough – it is time to save our emergency services.