Councillors blast MP over Lancaster fire cuts

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Labour has launched a withering attack on Morecambe MP David Morris over proposed cuts to Lancaster fire engines.

Councillors slated Mr Morris for “having the audacity” to slam Lancashire Fire Authority for planning to reduce the number of Lancaster fire engines from two to one when the Government was responsible for slashing costs in the first place.

Speaking at a Lancaster City Council meeting, Councillor Ian Pattison said: “David Morris criticised Lancashire Fire Authority for restructuring their services. I find it really disappointing when he voted to reduce the budget overall.”

Councillor David Whittaker also accused Mr Morris of “failing to do any effective lobbying with relevant Government departments”.

Speaking to the Lancaster Guardian, Mr Morris said: “I have come out strongly against the fire cuts, especially after the Megazone fire in Morecambe. If we’ve got only one fire engine then how can we cover the whole area? I’ve put forward an Early Day Motion against the decision and written to Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government). I don’t understand what (Labour) are playing at. If there’s anything I can do about cuts affecting this area then I will do it.”

At the meeting at Morecambe Town Hall, Labour also put forward a motion to lobby local MPs and the Government to have cuts reversed and campaign for adequate funding for the fire service.

But a counter-motion led by Tory councillor Roger Mace to delay a decision until the next meeting won the vote, with many councillors pointing out that talks with Lancashire Fire Authority were already under way.

The city council recently wrote to the Fire Authority asking them to review the decision to remove the second full-time fire engine. Councillor Roger Dennison said: “It is being discussed relatively amicably and they are prepared to take our points on board, so we should wait to see what their reply is.” The removal of the fire engine is due in 2016.