Birmingham MP condemns Government’s pension changes for putting firefighters’ lives at risk

Steve McCabe has condemned Government changes to firefighters’ pensions which are built on the assumption of a dangerously low aerobic fitness standard.

Government plans to make firefighters in England work until they are 60 and to increase their pension contributions have been backed by MPs by 313 votes to 261. Labour forced a vote on firefighters’ pensions but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pushed through the measure which many have branded as unworkable and unfair.


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.


Steve McCabe MP said:


“The Government’s Firefighters’ pension regulations are not fit for purpose. You cannot expect firefighters who are 60 to have the same fitness levels as those in their 20s, the government is risking public safety and putting the lives of our firefighters at risk.


“I am appalled that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have forced these changes through. Firefighters risk their lives to save ours and they deserve better than this.”

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