Fire Services Bill — Title — 3 Jun 2003 at 22:04
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
Today, we have had the opportunity to debate in detail the issues arising from the powers that we are seeking in the Bill. Like the events of the past year, these debates have illustrated how difficult it is to strike the right balance between the competing interests and points of view of the staff of fire brigades who want a fair level of pay for the difficult and dangerous job they do; the employers who have to manage fire brigades so they provide a good service to the public within budget; the public, who are entitled to expect protection from fires and other accidents; and the armed forces and the police, who have been diverted from their usual duties during the current dispute, often at significant personal and professional cost. But in the end, that balance must be struck. In the public interest, we cannot allow the dispute about pay in the fire service to continue indefinitely. A resolution must be found one way or another, and that is a responsibility that we as a Government must accept.
Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:-
The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 198.
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