asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many part-time firemen there are in the United Kingdom; and how this compares with the position 12 months ago;(2) in the light of the opposition of the Fire Brigades' Union to the continued employment of part-time firemen, what is his policy towards the future recruitment of part-time firemen.
The numbers of part-time retained firemen in the United Kingdom at 31st December 1977—the latest date for which figures are available—and 31st December 1976 were 17,883 and 17,969 respectively. As to the recruitment and employment of part-time retained firemen, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to Questions by the hon. Member for Devon, West (Mr. Mills) on 17th November.—[Vol. 958, col. 382.]