Firefighters need our support over retirement

Sir – I share the delight of Conservative councillors Peter Handley and Lynn Little (Gazette, January 15) at the prospect of a new fire station being earmarked for Carterton.

I wonder whether I can enlist their help in supporting Oxfordshire’s firefighters, the brave men and women they no doubt hope will staff this new fire station.

Hopefully they are already aware that the proposals being made by their party in Government have serious implications which put the safety of the public and firefighters at risk.

It is simply ludicrous for them to expect large numbers of firefighters, as they approach 60, to still be fighting fires and rescuing families in emergencies.

The Government is simply ignoring all the evidence – including its own – about the physical demands of firefighting and have been unable to address the concerns of firefighters during two years of negotiations.

Could councillors Handley and Little please use their influence with our MP and Prime Minister David Cameron to remind him that his Government’s proposals could mean the mass sackings as thousands of firefighters become older and no longer fit enough to do the job.

Firefighters, who already pay some of the highest pension contributions in the public or private sector, would also be expected to pay an average of 13.2 per cent of their salary and would have one of the worst ratios of contributions between employer and employee.

We expect the help and support of the emergency services when we need them, shouldn’t we now be supporting them?

Darran Brown, Vice-president, Oxford and District Trades Council, Windrush Valley Road, Witney

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