Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson pushes for Parliamentary

Bill Esterson

 


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson is pushing for a Parliamentary debate on the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government's funding for the emergency services after it was revealed that Crosby fire station could be losing its second pump.

Bill, who has already led the charge to safeguard the coastguard station which is also under threat from from Tory-Lib Dem cuts, said the government was dicing with people's lives by cutting funds to 999 services including police, fire and the coastguard.

The cuts mean that there will be 800 fewer police officers on the streets and all 600 community support officers will go as well, Crosby Coastguard Station could be closed down and the town's second fire engines will no longer be available.

Bill said: "As a result of government cuts, we are seeing cuts to our emergency services right here in Sefton. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are taking a huge risk with safety by making such big cuts in our emergency services. There has not been a proper study carried out into the effect of these cuts and I think that means the cuts are too fast and too soon on safety grounds as well as on economic grounds.

"I have already made clear to the government my opposition to the cuts to the emergency services. I totally oppose the closure of the coastguard station and the devastating slash and burn approach to our police force. And now the cutting of the second fire engine is nothing short of a reckless gamble with safety.

"I met members of the Fire Brigade Union and am extremely worried by what they tell me about the effect of the government’s cuts on their ability to protect the public. The same is true with the coastguard, which is why I arranged a debate in the House of Commons last week to look at some of the risks of the changes planned by the government. The government plans to shut either Belfast or Crosby coastguard along with Holyhead and the staff are worried that local knowledge will go and that the closures will dramatically slow down the response times for search and rescue boats. The cuts in the fire service will mean the loss of the second fire engine at Crosby, which is often not available now because of staff shortages. These government cuts are going to really affect the ability of the fire service to respond, just like the coastguard and the police.

"So I am now tabling a debate in Parliament to discuss the impact on Merseyside and the rest of the country of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government's plan to slash the funding to our emergency services."

Bill has already tabled a debate in Parliament on the coastguard cuts which gave MPs from around the country the chance to argue to Tory-Lib Dem Ministers why the stations need to be saved. Bill is hoping a similar debate on the cuts to all of the emergency services will give MPs the chance to argue the case for reversing the 999 cuts.

Bill said: "The Tories and Lib Dems are taking huge risks with public safety.

"They are going too far in cutting every aspect of our 999 provision here in Merseyside, risks which will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in response times and a reduction in safety.

"It is for this reason I oppose these cuts and why I want to give every MP the chance to appeal directly to the Tories and Lib Dems to see sense."