Sadiq Khan says London ‘let down’ by Government’s refusal to fund fire equipment



Sadiq Khan claims Londoners have been “let down” after the Government rejected his request for new firefighting equipment. 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd turned down the Labour mayor’s £6 million bid for aerial ladders, drones and 1200 breathing apparatus kits for firefighters following the Grenfell Tower blaze.

He also asked for a further £6 million every year from the Government to run the fire service and pay for staff – but was told the budget was his responsibility. 

Mr Khan said he is now having to plunder City Hall reserves to pay for the equipment requested by the fire brigade’s chief, Dany Cotton.

He said: “When you’re in a situation where firefighters are risking their personal safety and lives to keep London safe, it’s unacceptable for them not to have the equipment that they tell me they need. That is why I have authorised the expenditure of this money to procure the equipment. 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd. (Getty Images)

“We are spending our reserves. You can only spend the reserves once. Unless the Government recognises the resources the London Fire Brigade needs, I worry about the future funding of the service.” 

He said Ms Rudd had “utterly failed” to acknowledge hundreds of millions of pounds of Government cuts to the authority as well as direct cuts to the fire grant. He said he wanted to meet with her to discuss the matter. 

“Londoners will feel let down by the Government’s intransigence on this vital issue,” he said. 

Grenfell Tower Firefighters – In pictures

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A firefighter pours water over his head after battling a huge fire at the Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey apartment block in North Kensington, London

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Firefighters spray water after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west Londo

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A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Firefighters rest as they take a break in battling a massive fire that raged in a high-rise apartment building in London

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A firefighter close at the scene after a fire engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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The moment a resident is carried out of the Grenfell Tower block by fire bridgae and riot police carrying shield

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Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Emergency services gather close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Firefighters rest as they take a break in battling a massive fire that raged in a high-rise apartment building in London

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Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London

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Firefighters stand amid debris in a childrens playground near a tower block severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London

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Emergency services gather close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Firefighters react as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower

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Emergency personnel operate during the fire at the Grenfell Tower, a 27-storey apartment block in North Kensington, London

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A firefighter rests during the ballte against the blaze at Grenfell Tower

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Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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A London Fire Brigade worker moves air tanks close to the scene of a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Firefighters spray water after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Fire crews rest as they take part in the operation to put out a fire in a high rise apartment block in London

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A firemen reacts after battling a huge fire at the Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey apartment block in North Kensington, London

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Residents were trapped “screaming for their lives” as flames raged through a 27-storey tower block in Notting Hill

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Emergency services spray water towards a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

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Mrs Rudd said the mayor’s reserves had increased by £1.3 billion in the past five years, and core spending for the Greater London Authority increased by 2.1 percent in 2017-18.

She said he was responsible on how to spend his budget which comes from central government grants, locally retained business rates and council tax. 

Hundreds from Grenfell Tower area referred to mental health services

In her letter to Mr Khan sent this week, she wrote: “The amount of funding provided to London Fire Brigade for undertaking fire and rescue services across the capital is a matter for you as the Mayor of London in conjunction with the London Fire Commissioner and London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.”

However the Labour mayor disputed the Conservatives’ claims about funding, saying GLA spending power has been cut by seven percent and over £1 billion of the rise in reserves is ring-fenced, meaning they cannot touch it.

The list of firefighting equipment was drawn up by Ms Cotton, the first female commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, just weeks after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in west London. 

The blaze in the 24-story tower block claimed around 80 lives. It burned for nearly 60 hours and needed 250 firefighters to help put it out. 



Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/mayor-sadiq-khan-says-london-let-down-by-governments-refusal-to-fund-fire-equipment-a3609091.html

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