A message from Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Lib Dem spokesperson on Fire and Chair of the LGA Fire Services Management Committee (FSMC):
On Friday, the Tory government launched a consultation to allow Police & Crime Commissioners to take over the running of fire and rescue authorities. In the last government Liberal Democrat ministers vetoed this idea. It is my view that Liberal Democrats should continue to oppose the Tory Plan. It would allow PCCs to mount hostile takeovers of fire authorities, removing elected councillors from the governance of the best fire service in the world. Remember, our manifesto was clear that we would have abolished PCCs to be replaced by boards of local councillors.
The full consultation can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/enabling-closer-working-between-the-emergency-services but it includes:
- enabling Police and Crime Commissioners to take on the duties and responsibilities of fire and rescue authorities, where a local case is made;
- in areas where a Police and Crime Commissioner has not become responsible for fire and rescue services, enabling them to have representation on their local fire and rescue authority; and
- abolishing the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and giving the Mayor of London direct responsibility for the fire and rescue service in London, as will be the case in Greater Manchester.
This consultation is open until 23rd October 2015.
The LGA FSMC will formally respond to the consultation. This will be a cross party response. At the last LGA Fire Commission, I asked members to indicate whether they opposed PCCs taking over the fire service. The show of hands from members of all parties was unanimous in its opposition. I will also ensure that the LGA Lib Dem group formerly responds to the consultation.