The number of fire casualties to the end of Q4 2016/2017 was 887. This is 8% lower than the Scottish Government Target of reducing such casualties to 966. The number of accidental dwelling fires had increased, in the same year, by more than 10%, to 4922.
However, on the basis of what appear to be merely anecdotal and partisan comments from a trades union secretary, the Herald reported:
‘Denise Christie, Scottish Secretary of the Fire Brigades’ Union, said the controversial creation of a single nationwide service in 2013, coupled with austerity, has led “to the worsening of response times, increased fire losses and increased deaths”. ‘
No actual statistics to support the claims of worsening response times in 2017 were offered. However, the Times claimed to have gained access to figures showing that: ‘between 2011 and 2016, the average response time across Scotland grew by 24 seconds, to seven minutes 48 seconds.’
That represents an increase of 5.4% over 5 years or around 1% per year. With the number of dwelling fires to be tackled increasing 10% in 2016/2017, alone, this might suggest improved performance overall. I appreciate, I have not matched the time periods exactly but the lower number of casualties than predicted in the target set against the large increase in cases to be dealt with, in 2016/2017, does suggest an improving picture contrary to the Herald report.
Finally, in 2016/2017 firefighter staffing has been increased by 100 and Scottish Government funding, against the background of austerity cuts and excessive unresolved VAT demands, has increased by £21.7 million.
With two dodgy anti-SNP reports on the website today, you’d think a date for Indyref2 had been announced.