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Scot Lib Dems reveal £27m fire service overtime bill

July 1, 2019 3:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice secretary Liam McArthur MSP has today revealed Scottish Fire and Rescue have had to spend £27m on overtime in the past five years as he called for ministers to ensure that they address "blue lights flashing" over the sustainability of the service.

A freedom of information request from the Scottish Liberal Democrats to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service revealed that between 2013/14 and 2017/18, the total overtime cost for uniformed staff was £27,468,936.

In 2013, Scotland's regional fire services were merged as a result of the SNP Government's Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

Commenting on the figures, Mr McArthur said:

"Scottish Fire and Rescue deserve enormous praise for the work they do keeping us safe and there will always be occasions in which paying for additional staff cover is the most sensible and practical option.

"However, with an average of 20 retained firefighters or volunteer staff leaving the SFRS every month and hundreds of firefighters lost since the SNP's merger, the risk is that these bills are being accrued because there are simply not enough staff to fulfil the needs of the service.

"Blue lights are already flashing over the sustainability of this service. The Scottish Government must give firefighters and staff the resources they need to deliver a high quality service."