Government’s pension changes could put firefighters’ lives at risk

Local MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick warned that changes that the Government is making to firefighters’ pensions are built on the assumption of a dangerously low aerobic fitness standard.

The Williams Review, which the Government itself commissioned, states that the aerobic fitness measure the Government is basing their plans on means “the risk of sudden catastrophic cardiac events increases… with a risk of sudden death particularly while undergoing high levels of physical exertion”. This flawed fitness standard would put firefighters needlessly at risk and fail to protect the public.

If a more robust fitness standard is implemented it would mean that the assumptions on which the Government’s pension regulations are based would no longer be valid. The result would be that a number of firefighters who try to maintain fitness would be unable to meet these operational standards into their late 50s through no fault of their own.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP has signed the ‘prayer against’ the regulations, put forward by the Labour Party frontbench, with the aim of securing a full Parliamentary debate to hold the Government to account and oppose the regulations. Over 250 MPs have put their names to this to put pressure on the Government to schedule a debate and give them a vote.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP said:

“The Government’s Firefighters’ pension regulations are not fit for purpose. They are based on an assumption about a dangerously low fitness standard, which would put public safety and the lives of firefighters at risk.

“The Tories can’t build a better future for working people because they stand up only for a privileged few. Firefighters risk their lives to save ours and they deserve better than this.”

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