Protesters from Sunderland trade unions, the People’s Assembly and supportive members of the public turned out in their hundreds to protest closure

Sunderland witnessed it’s largest ever anti-cuts demonstration today as 300 people marched to save its central fire station from closure.

The march assembled outside the threatened fire station and was led by a big contingent of Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members and their families. “Fire cuts kill” was an oft repeated phrase heard as the march made it’s way into the city-centre for a rally in Market Square.

If the proposed closure of Sunderland central fire station goes ahead it will leave the city centre without a fire station for the first time since 1908 putting many lives at risk due to it taking longer for fire engines from other Sunderland stations to respond to incidents in the city centre.

As well as Sunderland, the march was also in opposition to plans to close Newcastle fire stations in Wallsend and Gosforth which are run by the same fire authority.

Tyne and Wear Fire Authority are planning on closing Sunderland central fire station and Wallsend and Gosforth fire stations in June 2017 due to £8.8million worth of government cuts to its budget. Simultaneously this authority is planning on building two new fire stations in Sunderland and North Tyneside.

Contingents from Sunderland’s two Unison branches, UCATT, Sunderland People’s Assembly, The Green Party and other supportive members of the public featured on the march which was organised jointly by FBU Tyne and Wear, Sunderland Trades Council and the Northern TUC

The rally was chaired by FBU North East representative Andy Noble and featured speeches from Northern TUC secretary Beth Farhat, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott , Sunderland Trade’s Council representative Dave Allan and Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.

The Tyne and Wear Fire Authority is due to debate the future of all 3 fire stations on the 16th of February.

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