John Biggs hits out at Boris Johnson over fire station cuts

London Assembly's John Biggs speaking at the Tower Hamlets consultation meeting on fire station cuts

London Assembly's John Biggs speaking at the Tower Hamlets consultation meeting on fire station cuts - Credit: Archant

Boris Johnson has been accused of misleading residents after figures reveal slower response times to emergencies if fire station cuts go ahead.

Darren Johnson

Darren Johnson - Credit: Green Party

London Assembly members from the Labour and Green Parties are calling on the London Mayor to scrap the plans and blame the proposed station closures on his decision to cut council tax by 1p a day.

The statistics were released on the London Fire Brigade website this week after members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, which include members of the London Assembly requested the information. The figures reveal that 41 wards will fall outside the target response time of six minutes for the first fire engine. In the Royal Docks the response time will increase by more than three minutes.

John Biggs, London Assembly member for City and East, said: “These figures clearly show the Mayor mislead Londoners.

“Some of these figures may not sound a lot but a fire can quadruple in intensity every two minutes. These increases are truly scandalous, no wonder they didn’t release this information sooner. This completely blows a hole in the Mayor’s plans for fire cuts, he must abandon them now.

“We presented him with a fully costed plan to keep them all, instead he has chosen to cut council tax by one penny a day. While a small amount to individual Londoners, across our city this adds up and will lead to a huge cut in our valued fire service.”

London Assembly member for the Green Party, Darren Johnson, also blamed the council tax cut.

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Mr Johnson said: “These unnecessary closures are a result of the Mayor’s trifling 7p a week council tax cut.”

But Conservative London Assembly member and chair of the London Fire Authority, James Cleverly, said their figures did not add up.

He said the Fire Brigade needs to save £448.2m and that the council tax reduction would come nowhere near to covering that amount.

He added: “The London Fire Brigade currently has, and will continue to have, some of the fastest response times in the country, indeed the world.