COMMUNITIES across Glasgow and its neighbouring towns and villages will experience reduced fire cover from today as a plan to implement £36 million of cuts begin.

Major changes planned over the next four years will decimate the service according to the Fire Brigade Union (FBU), which claims the removal of engines and manpower will put lives and livelihoods at risk.

They say the cuts are the result of the Scottish Government’s failure to adequately fund the service, with the projected budget for until 2027 falling by £36m.

Union chiefs say the changes which come into effect from this morning are ‘just the start’, with two of Glasgow’s three busiest stations at Cowcaddens and Maryhill each losing an engine. An appliance will also go for crews at Govan, Hamilton and Greenock, with Polmadie losing its dedicated team who respond to incidents on the River Clyde.

The move has sparked anger among public, politicians and councillors from all parties and last week hundreds of firefighters from across the UK gathered in Glasgow’s George Square to show their opposition.

The continued reduction in firefighter numbers across all duty patterns and control rooms has led to the loss of almost 1200 jobs since 2012/13 – and it is feared that up to 780 more posts could be lost because of this latest round of cuts.

Glasgow Times: George Square protestGeorge Square protest (Image: Newsquest)

Gus Sproul, chair of the FBU in Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government and the minister responsible for the Fire Service, Siobhian Brown, must recognise the damage these cuts are doing to our service and instead invest in Scotland’s fire and rescue service. The FBU will not stand by and watch as jobs are lost and communities and firefighters put in danger. 

“Fewer firefighters mean reduced cover, and reduced cover leads to a greater risk of someone losing their life. If more jobs and the safety of firefighters and the communities they serve are threatened, the FBU will consider all options available to stop these appalling and dangerous cuts.”

READ MORE: Protest in George Square amid concern over cuts to fire service

Colin Brown, FBU Scotland executive member, said that members are now considering balloting for a possible strike.

He added: “If the cuts are not reversed, we will have no option but to vote for industrial action.

“That is not something we take lightly. It is over 20 years since Scotland’s firefighters last took a step like this.

"The reality is if they don’t invest we will need to take action to defend our jobs, our health and our safety, as well as the communities we live and work in.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson says it continues to heavily invest in keeping people and communities safe.

They added: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is a vital service which is why, despite difficult financial circumstances due to UK Government austerity, we are providing it with more than £368m this year, an increase of £14.4m on 2023/23.

"We are also maintaining frontline services, with a higher number of firefighters in Scotland than in other parts of the UK, and we are pleased firefighters have also recently accepted an improved pay offer.”