13 Appliances

MQT on 2014-12-17
Session date: 
December 17, 2014
Question By: 
Fiona Twycross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Are you in agreement with the Conservative Group on LFEPA, that the 13 appliances currently being used for contingency arrangements should be reviewed in line with their motion at the 13 November LFEPA Resources Committee?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for 13 Appliances

Answer for 13 Appliances

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Fiona.  The first thing to say is obviously that the London Fire Brigade is doing an outstanding job.  I am very, very impressed by the way in which they have adopted the changes in the Fifth London Safety Plan (LSP5).  They are beating their London-wide attendance targets.  They are performing far better than anybody predicted.  Those who said otherwise have been proved miserably wrong.  They should eat their hats.  The number of incidents the fire brigade attends has continued to decrease.  All incidents are down 12%.  Significant fires are down 14%.  Outdoor fires are down 30%. 


Your question about the appliances is an interesting one.  You serve on the LFEPA ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  Yes.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and obviously I look to you and your colleagues to come to a decision on that and work out how you think the budget should best be framed.  It should take account of the excellent performance of the London Fire Brigade and of the views of professionals such as the Commissioner for Fire.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Over half the wards in London are actually seeing an increase in the time it is taking for a fire engine to get to a fire since the cuts were introduced in January.  I just really wanted to make you aware of the proposal by the Conservative Group.  Obviously, Labour will try to get you out of a corner on this one, but it is the Conservative colleagues you need to be talking to about these appliances.  They have proposed that we just get rid of the 13 appliances that have been removed for the strike period.  They put a motion to the Resources Committee saying they wanted these to be reviewed.


I wanted to make it clear that this would represent the type of major reconfiguration that you personally have guaranteed to London will not happen again under your mayoralty.  I want you to confirm that should this happen you would actually say, “This is not good enough.  This is what I have committed to London throughout the campaign”.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  As far as I know, there is no such proposal.  I look to the LFEPA, on which you sit, to continue its record of success in supporting the fire brigade, which is doing a great job of reducing fire and death from fire.


Fiona Twycross AM:  If a major reconfiguration ‑‑


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Just hold on a moment.  Assembly Member Cleverly, you had a point of order?


Fiona Twycross AM:  Can you stop ‑‑


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Remember, a point of order is not a point of information.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Thank you.  In the meantime, my time is being used.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  If you wish to indicate, I will bring you in to ask a question when Fiona is finished.  Assembly Member Twycross, carry on.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Thank you.  Just for the record, the proposal that the appliances should be reviewed was in a motion at the November Resources Committee.  I appreciate that James Cleverly was not there and so he may not be fully aware of what they are proposing.


The issue here is actually that this would represent a major reconfiguration.  I just want your reassurance to London again that you do not want to see - and will not see - a major reconfiguration for the London Fire Service in your time as Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  All I can certainly say is that LSP5 is working well.  I thank the fire brigade for what it is doing.  It is up to the LFEPA to continue its good work.  I look forward to your contribution to that, Fiona.  I am sure ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  We will be ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ you will take account of the views of the fire brigade and the Commissioner in setting your budgets and deciding the way forward.


Fiona Twycross AM:  I am very pleased that you have confidence in us on this issue.  However, you probably should talk to the Conservative Group about making sure they do not precipitate a situation in which we are forced to dust down our banners again and get outside fire stations saying, “Please bring back the fire engines”.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  As far as I understand there is no such proposal.  What can I say with confidence is that the existing regime is delivering good results for Londoners, as we said it would.  There was a very long consultation process.  James [James Cleverly AM] ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  The times have gone up.  That is indisputable.  They have gone up where these appliances have been moved.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and the Commissioner did go around.  We had exhaustive consultations.  In all but three London boroughs the average attendance time is below six minutes for the first appliance, and in all but two London boroughs the average attendance time is below eight minutes for the second appliance.


Fiona Twycross AM:  We have an increase where these appliances have been removed during the last year.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is very good going by the fire brigade.  I congratulate them.


Fiona Twycross AM:  I am very pleased you have confidence in us and I look forward to hearing James [Cleverly AM] confirm that the Conservative Group will desist from suggesting that these appliances should be removed.  Thank you.


James Cleverly AM:  We never did suggest ‑‑


Fiona Twycross AM:  They did.  You have.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  For the avoidance of doubt, I do not think they suggested anything of the kind.


Fiona Twycross AM:  They have.