SCOTLAND: Firefighters are stressed out in underfunded service

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is under-funded, leading to resource shortages and modernisation plans being put on hold, a report from Scotland’s Auditor General has found.

Caroline Gardner’s report points to increasing demands on the service but fewer resources due to the loss of frontline firefighters to carry out work, which it said is leading to increased pressures within the workforce and an increase in absence levels due to work-related stress.

Caroline Gardner, Scotland’s Auditor General

Her report said the service had been hamstrung by a funding shortfall from completing the integration of the eight former services into a single body.

Commenting on the findings, Denise Christie, FBU regional secretary in Scotland, said many areas of the report are ‘extremely concerning.’

She said: “The FBU has continually raised concerns over the need for sustainable funding and the impact a reduced workforce has on capacity levels to deliver any transformational proposals.” Christie said evidence suggests falling resources have come at a time of increasing demand.