Wednesday April 10, 2013
Getting help and support in an emergency is one of the fundamental pillars of a modern society; whether it's an ambulance to get you to hospital in time to save your life, a fire engine arriving in time to save your house or the police arriving in time to catch a criminal in the act. But unprecedented cuts mean these basic services are now at serious risk in London.
I have great admiration for our police force, and am immensely proud of the fact that crime has consistently fallen in Brent. A long-term strategy for community policing has made Brent a much safer and more secure place to live. But Government cuts to police numbers are going to make their job much harder. We have 78 less Police Officers, 69 less PCS0s and 27 less Police Sergeants than in 2010. This means our local police, who work so hard, will have to do much more with considerably fewer resources.
The London Fire Brigade will have its budget cut by a staggering 25% over the next two years. As a result across London they will have to close 12 fire stations, cut 18 fire engines and lose 520 fire-fighters. This means average response times - the time it takes for a fire engine to reach a fire - will go up across London, and this is crucial as a fire can quadruple in intensity in just two minutes. Lives will be put at risk as a result.
Time is just as critical with health. Every second counts when a heart-attack or stroke victim needs to get to hospital. That's why the closing A&E units before replacement services are in place and cutting ambulances across London is so potentially dangerous. Seven A&E's are closing, including Central Middlesex in the middle of Brent. On top of this the London Ambulance Service is being cut by 19%, which means 560 fewer front-line staff. The Government promised to improve out-of-hospital care and invest significantly in Northwick Park hospital before closing our A&E, but it now looks like none of this will be in place before Central Middlesex is downgraded next year - a real risk for local people.
I am opposed to all of these changes as I believe the safety of Brent residents is our first responsibility, but I can't influence the decisions on my own. I need your help too. The London Fire Brigade is currently consulting on the proposed cuts to stations. If enough people get involved, the Government will have to listen. You can have your say by visiting www.london-fire.gov.uk/lsp5.
You can get involved with the campaign on London's A&E units by visiting www.saveourhospitals.org.uk. Please do get involved, it is vital that local people have their say.