New fire minister announced
Following a post-General Election Cabinet reshuffle the new minister with responsibility for fire has been announced as Mark Francois MP.
The Conservative member for Rayleigh and Wickford, is a former Minister of State for the Armed Forces and a former Territorial Army soldier, he will work under the new Communities Secretary Greg Clark, who has taken over from Eric Pickles.
READ EDITOR ANDREW LYNCH'S THOUGHTS ON THE APPOINTMENT
Mr Francois’s new role will also give him responsibility for housing, planning and development, including the Ebbsfleet Eurostar development and policies on travellers.
Commenting on the appointment Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: "Firefighters everywhere will hope that with a new fire minister in place we can start a genuine and open dialogue about how we protect our essential service for the future.
"We will also be looking to discuss the pension arrangements for firefighters. We were left at the end of the last Parliament with a confusing situation regarding firefighters who suffer a decline in fitness with the government saying one thing and employers saying something different. Firefighters are entitled to know the truth. We hope Mr Francois will want a genuine dialogue with the elected representatives of the firefighting profession and we are always available to meet."
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