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London Fire Brigade death figures ‘highly distorted’

FIREFIGHTERS slammed “disingenuous” claims that the death toll from fires had halved in the capital, saying yesterday that service cuts would only exacerbate continued dangers.

New figures show that 30 people died as a result of fires in London during the year 2014-15.

London Fire Brigade said that this represented a 50 per cent decline over five years, because the number of fire deaths during the year 2010-11 was 59.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) suggested that the brigade’s figures were suspect, as it had changed its methodology from measuring fire deaths with a 10-year average.

Bosses had previously justified their decision to use an average on the basis that “a small fluctuation can distort the figures and give an inaccurate picture of the overall trend.”

FBU London secretary Paul Embery suggested that the brigade’s new figures presented a highly-distorted picture.

“One could be forgiven for concluding that their actions amount to a duplicitous attempt to justify their controversial decision to close 10 London fire stations last year,” he said.

“When taken as an average over 10 years, which is the way the brigade has always calculated these things, the figure has gone from 61 fire deaths to around 50.

“That represents a reduction of 18 per cent, not the 50 per cent claimed by brigade bosses.

“While we welcome any reduction in the number of fire deaths, the public deserves the truth, and these highly selective figures cannot be used as a justification for further cuts.”

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