Fire Service cuts concerns taken to the Assembly

The campaign launched by Plaid Cymru politicians to oppose the downgrading of Ammanford Fire Station and closure of Pontyates Fire Station has this week reached the National Assembly for Wales.
Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards, who last week launched an online petition opposing the changes, has now established his petition through the National Assembly’s Petitions Committee.
By engaging the process of the Petitions Committee, Jonathan Edwards says his petition can reach a far greater audience throughout Wales which can emphasise the strength of feeling against any downgrading and cuts proposals to the fire service.
To gather support from Assembly Members, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Mid and West Wales AM Simon Thomas have tabled an Assembly Statement calling on the Welsh Government to make a financial intervention if changes to the fire service are seen as likely to compromise community safety. Known as a Statement of Opinion, the process allows Assembly Members, from all political parties and all corners of Wales, to support their call to protect fire services from unnecessary cuts.
Jonathan Edwards MP said:
“The Labour Welsh government has had a raw budget deal from the Westminster.  But passing on these cuts to the fire service will inevitably affect front line services.
“A precedent has been set by the Welsh government after it stepped up with a financial injection to ensure Health Boards were able to stay within their budgets.  We believe this same principle should apply for the fire service if cuts are seen as likely to increase the risk to life.
“The local petition has had a good response, but we’re going one step further and making our campaign national.  By using the petitions committee process, we can reach a far greater audience and demonstrate the strength of feeling against downgrading and cuts to services.
“While my priority is of course the stations which affect my constituents, we need to join together and demonstrate to the Labour Welsh government that cuts to the fire service will not be accepted.
Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas added:
“The Conservative and Lib Dem government in London has slashed the funding which the Welsh government receives.  But we do not support the Labour Welsh government’s cuts to the fire service.
“By engaging the petitions committee, we hope to highlight the importance of the fire service to our communities and show the Welsh government that these cuts cannot be accepted.”

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