Fire Station Closures

Meeting: 
MQT on 2012-09-19
Session date: 
September 19, 2012
Reference: 
2012/2587
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Is it not the case that you are holding back the publication of the list of fire stations facing closure or the withdrawal of a fire engine?

Answer

Answer for Fire Station Closures

Answer for Fire Station Closures

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I want to thank Andrew for his work on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) on which he sits and all I can say is that to the best of my knowledge, the LFEPA on which you sit, Andrew, has not yet made any such decision, but that if you do decide to make any such decision, I am sure you will make sure to let yourself know, so to speak.

Andrew Dismore (AM): That is a pretty silly answer, isn't it? You know that you are demanding cuts of £65 million over the next two years. You have only been able to find £14 million without cuts in fire engines and fire stations and it is pretty, well, school boy arithmetic, even for somebody from Eton, to work out that at £1.4 million a year potentially ten one-pump fire stations are at risk. I also think you must be considering Londoners pretty stupid if you think that you do not already have a list of fire stations up your sleeve facing the chop, bearing in mind you expect the final budget done and dusted to be on your desk within two months of now.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not think you can convincingly claim complete ignorance of this subject since, as I say, you do sit on the LFEPA and you are there to provide a balance between the public need for fire cover and the cash available. I genuinely do not know what the solutions are yet. I do not have any such list in my back pocket, but clearly the Authority has to make savings and it is for Members to decide how best to do that. One thing that I do think has been very successful is that the London Fire Brigade has continued to produce very good results for the people of this city in reducing deaths from fire. We have one of the lowest incidences of fire in London per head of population anywhere in the country and that is of great credit.

Andrew Dismore (AM): That is based on the present provision within the London Fire Brigade. In Barnet, we already have the worst attendance times in London, over a minute worse than the average, and as I think you would accept each minute can mean the difference between life and death at a fire. So why will you not come clean and tell Londoners, the same as with the Police, what stations are facing cuts and which are safe at least for next year if not the year beyond? We cannot find out, because we have asked these questions as Labour members of LFEPA, because they are not telling us there either. The buck stops with you when it comes to things like these services. Why will you not come clean and tell Members what you are up to?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Much as I appreciate the style of invective that you bring to this place, I must tell you that you sit on the Board of LFEPA, you are there to look at this question. I do not have the answers.

Andrew Dismore (AM): Will you tell the Chair of LFEPA to tell us what the cuts are if he will not tell you? He is not here. You can tell him to come clean himself.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I invite you to make use of your time on the Board of LFEPA of which I think you are remunerated --

Andrew Dismore (AM): No, we are not.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Whatever.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Just to clarify, Assembly Members do not receive extra remuneration for serving on the Board.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Sorry. You might ask him yourself in one of these meetings.

Andrew Dismore (AM): That is what we have tried to do. We have tried to get the answers and he is not coming clean either. It is a problem with the Conservative Party, they are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Londoners and introduce these cuts by stealth.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, all I can say is that this is something that you will have to discuss on the Board of LFEPA. I cannot believe there is some procedure that enables the budgetary savings that are necessary to be reached without approval or discussion with you. Are you telling me that there is some sort of dictatorial system in LFEPA that means that you are not going to be consulted at all? I would be most surprised. I think you have to look at what the requirements are and you have to reach a conclusion and I would be happy to study it.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Thank you. Assembly Member Bacon.