Comment by Dr Andrew Emerson
4:25 PM on 09/12/2016
Here’s an idea. To set a good example of saving public money each ‘cabinet’ member of West Sussex County Council should agree to a ten per cent cut in pay and allowances. Well, how about it Mrs Goldsmith? No? I thought not.
All our public services, including the NHS, police and fire service, are being cut to the bone, but some things – like councillors’ pay and perks – are sacrosanct.
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9:42 PM on 13/12/2016
I really do think Louise Goldsmith is showing signs of delusion. She says the top priority was ‘keeping you safe’, but her record shows that has not been her priority at all. Since she has been Council Leader, fire stations have been closed and the number of operational fire engines has been cut by 24%. The number of wholetime firefighters on those fire engines has also been cut by 24% and the number of part-time firefighters is at an all-time low.
Junior and middle level operational managers, and non-uniformed support staff have all been cut, leaving insufficient numbers to do their jobs effectively. The only increase, apart from her own allowance, is in the highest level of management. A few years ago the service was effectively managed by a Chief Fire Officer and a Deputy Chief Fire Officer, but under Louise Goldsmith’s rule they now also have two Assistant Chief Fire Officers.
The result of these cuts, and WSCC’s continuing mismanagement of the service, has been an inability to ensure even the reduced number of fire engines are all available. Response times have increased significantly, as shown by the appalling 18 minute response time to the Selsey Academy fire. Response times for supporting crews are even worse, with some taking two, three or even four times longer to arrive.
Worst of all, since she has been Leader, the number of fire deaths in West Sussex has risen. There were 13 in the five years before she became Leader, but an astonishing 28 during the first five years of her leadership. Do not fall for the spin, we are most definitely not being kept safe by Louise Goldsmith!
Read more at: http://www.chichester.co.uk/news/politics/council-tax-bills-could-rise-by-another-45-1-7724262#comments-area