MP Jonathan Reynolds has launched a petition against Government plans that could open the way to the privatisation of the Fire Service.
Government spending cuts have already had an impact on frontline emergency services.
By April 2012 there were 4000 fewer firefighters across the country than there had been two years earlier. And in Greater Manchester – where the Service dealt with 12,000 fires and more than 4000 other emergencies in 2012 – there are now 239 fewer firefighters than in 2010.
Now the Government appears to be proposing changes that would open the way for the service to be privatised.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has already asked for legislative changes that would allow fire and rescue authorities to be able to contract out their full range of services to any “suitable provider”.
And although the Department for Communities and Local Government has suggested that the new legislation would simply assist locally-led mutuals, this change would – in effect - enable all fire and rescue authorities in England to be sold off.
Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds - whose father is a retired firefighter - believes privatisation would impact on the service, putting the safety of firefighters and the public at potential risk.
"In my view this is a completely unacceptable proposal," said Mr Reynolds. "Firefighters and the public need to be confident that their protection will always come above profit - but this simply cannot be the case with such certainty if the service is run by a private provider.
"Even for a Government that has an ideological drive towards the private sector, privatising one of our emergency services is surely a step too far."
Mr Reynolds is so concerned that Government proposals could open the way to privatisation of the service that he has set up a petition to oppose them.
Published 25 April, 2013