Cllr Bob Rudd, chair of cheshire fire authority

Dear Prime Minister

I write to you following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the Spending Review regarding a pay freeze for public sector workers outside of the NHS.

As you will be aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented demands on our public services, with staff rising to the challenge admirably in support of their communities.

While NHS workers should rightly be applauded, and rewarded, for the herculean efforts of many doctors, nurses and healthcare staff in saving the lives of those afflicted by Covid-19; there are other public sector employees who have also stepped into the breach and kept the wheels of society turning to enable our NHS to focus on the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, fire and rescue services have steadfastly continued to respond and protect their communities from fire and other emergencies.

Many staff, particularly our fire staff in community-facing roles, have magnificently stepped up to help the most vulnerable in society in their time of need.

In Cheshire alone this has included delivering over 8,000 medicine prescriptions; nearly 5,000 deliveries of food parcels and nearly 3,000 visits or welfare calls to those most vulnerable and shielding themselves.

The scale and speed at which our staff quickly learnt new roles, developed new procedures and mobilised themselves in support of others cannot be underestimated.

Nor do we underestimate the sacrifice this required; long hours, working alone; and in many cases putting themselves at an increased risk to help others.

As fire authority members we thank them and unanimously feel they should be honoured, recognised and fairly rewarded.

We know that even with the turbulence of this year, the coming years will also be difficult and our fantastic staff will no doubt be called upon again.

However just as with the financial crisis ten years ago, it appears that despite public servants being the wall that has supported society during its sternest test; instead of making the wall stronger the decisions of the Government serve to chip away at its foundations.

On behalf of all Members of Cheshire Fire Authority, I urge the Government to reconsider its decision and to demonstrate the value it places on the heroic efforts of firefighters and fire staff in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic to keep their community safe.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Bob Rudd
Chair, Cheshire Fire Authority

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