MQT on 2013-05-22
Session date: 
May 22, 2013
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor



Answer for LSP5

Answer for LSP5

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thanks, Navin. This is actually going pretty well, I think. The consultation is extensive, there are 24 public meetings taking place across London. It is due to close, thanks to the excellent work being done by Assembly Member Cleverly the consultation is going along at a blistering place. Some are very well attended, some less well attended but a lot of people getting their points across and the consultation is due to end on 17 June.

Navin Shah (AM): Thank you and good morning, Mr Mayor. Whilst I appreciate your response, I want to talk about the board level attendance time, sir, which has raised serious questions. London Fire Brigade's (LFB) own plan admits that there is a link between fire and deprivation. When you actually look at the figures of the 100 most deprived wards in London, 76 of them will see an increase in the time it takes for the fire engine to arrive at the incident site. Is it not scandalous that you are putting poorest Londoners at risk by promoting closure of fire stations right across London?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): It is obviously an interesting new accusation. Actually I am told that there is no evidence of a discernible pattern by area or borough and the brief that we have here from the LFEPA is just the trends of the number of fire deaths in an individual borough may vary from the London-wide trends, 'Fire deaths are relatively random events, there is no discernible pattern by area or borough' is what the information is that I have.

Navin Shah (AM): Mr Mayor, obviously --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The key data that I think people want to focus on is overall deaths by fire were running at about 200 a year in London in the 1980s. They were about 100 a year in the 1990s and they are now down to about 50 a year. Incidents from fire have come down 18% in the last four years alone. That is due to the fantastic work of the LFB and we are supporting them in trying to get the best possible organisation of their resources to continue to fight fire and bring down deaths.

Navin Shah (AM): Mr Mayor, quite clearly you have not read your paperwork or done the research or looked at the research because these are the board level figures which come from fire consultation documents as well as from the GLA Datastore, which clearly show what the scenario is, that deprived areas will be hit the hardest.

Mr Mayor, let me put it to you that it is, therefore, scandalous that you are cutting back the cover in London and that the poorest areas of London, of this city, will be hit the hardest. All of this you are doing so that you can put one penny of council tax back to the Londoners. You seem to be very clearly more interested in supporting and appealing to the Tory shires than protect the deprived areas and Londoners when it comes to their own safety.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, Navin, obviously I am used to having a bit of abuse, but my job is to promote the interest of the whole city and to make sure that the maximum possible number of Londoners receive the kind of protection and coverage that they need. What we can do with these reforms is bring another four boroughs within the minimum times, both for the first and the second appliance. Actually, in your own borough there are significant improvements. I believe that on 17 May 2013, on Friday, you launched a petition against the proposed changes against Stanmore Fire Station and you denounced what we are proposing. You went to Stanmore Fire Station, Navin, and denounced me. Actually, I think you may not have been aware that these proposals will give that fire station and additional engine and actually the proposals will improve attendance times in Harrow.

Navin Shah (AM): Mr Mayor, let me also tell you that in my borough of Brent, Kilburn, which is one of the most deprived wards that will be hit by the delay in fire engine response time, the fact is clearly that this is a gross neglect on your part that you are putting the risk of Londoners by closing fire stations and that is what you are doing, nothing less, nothing more than that. Thank you. I read your comments.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Navin, you can take it from me that in spite of what you have said, your own borough is actually going to get a decrease in response times - that is to the good. Yes, it is perfectly true that there will be variations across London, but the overall objective of the 5th London Safety Plan (LSP5) is to bring a wider area of the city within the minimum response times and, thereby, to keep driving down death from fires. That is the view of experienced professionals who, as I say, consecrated their lives to fighting fire in --