Labour Research May 2004


Government "embarrassed" over firefighting success

The FBU firefighters' union has accused the government of maintaining an embarrassed silence over the lowest number of fire deaths for over 40 years.

The union said that fire statistics released last month revealed a significant 7% reduction in fire deaths - the lowest level since 1961. But its general secretary, Andy Gilchrist, said the government was burying the good news because they seemed "embarrassed by the remarkable success of the fire service which they publicly ran down."

He added that the government was reluctant to highlight the success because its own reforms "may not work as well."

Gilchrist challenged ministers to explain their silence and to praise everyone in the fire service.

He said: "If this was news about the NHS or schools they would be shouting it from the rooftops."