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Fire Brigades Union expresses concern over plans to scrap fire safety in asylum seeker accommodation


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Union criticises UK Government’s proposed changes to fire risk assessment rules

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voiced its strong opposition to recent proposals by the UK Government.

These plans suggest a significant change to current fire risk assessment rules applied to accommodation for asylum seekers.

The proposed changes, published in May, suggest that the accommodation provided for asylum seekers on behalf of the Home Office would no longer require an HMO licence.

HMO licensing, overseen by Local Authorities, ensures adequate safety measures and equipment are in place.

Fire Brigades Union warns of potential consequences

The FBU has voiced concerns that exempting asylum seeker accommodation from these regulations could potentially lead to loss of life and injuries.

They further highlight the risks to firefighters, who may have to respond to emergencies in facilities with inadequate fire safety provisions.

The Union’s intervention increases pressure on the government’s policy, which already faced criticism from Labour last month.

Fire Brigades Union official statement

Ben Selby, assistant general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, voiced his concerns: “It’s utterly shameful that the UK Government is cutting back fire safety risk assessments for accommodation used to house asylum seekers.”

This policy, Selby warns, “could have tragic consequences with the loss of life and injury.” He criticises the government’s approach as “callous and reckless” and believes it puts both the safety of asylum seekers and firefighters at risk.

By removing the requirement for an HMO licence, Selby suggests that the government appears to devalue the lives of asylum seekers. He further emphasises: “Everyone has the right to live in safe accommodation, regardless of where they were born. Firefighters don’t check passports when they rescue people, and fire safety regulations cannot discriminate either.”

About the Fire Brigades Union

The Fire Brigades Union represents the voice of firefighters and other workers within the fire and rescue service in the UK. The Union works to improve the safety and working conditions of fire service workers, advocating for better public safety through improved services and standards.

Comment from the International Fire & Safety Journal

This development is of significant importance for the field of fire and safety. The Fire Brigades Union’s opposition highlights potential safety risks to both asylum seekers and emergency responders alike. It underlines the vital role that fire safety regulations play in protecting vulnerable communities and those charged with their rescue in emergency situations.

To read the FBU’s comment in full, please follow the link here.

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