Fire services are spending £17,000 decking out engines in LGBT rainbow colors to push for inclusion

Anger after fire services spent £17,000 of taxpayers’ money decorating engines in LGBT rainbow colours

  • Three fire services spent £17,000 painting fire engines in LGBT rainbow colours
  • Oxfordshire, Dorset & Wiltshire and Suffolk have spent thousands since 2017
  • Tom Ryan of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said expensive paintwork doesn’t help save lives

Fire services have been told to “fight fires, not culture wars” after it was revealed they spent over £17,000 painting fire engines rainbow colours.

The brightly colored liveries have been approved by several fire and rescue service leaders across England as part of inclusion and recruitment campaigns since 2017.

The rainbow flag has been used as a symbol of LGBT pride since the late 1970s.

The fire service with the highest spending on rainbow colored fire engines was the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service which spent £4,320.

'Fight fire, not culture wars': Fire services have spent over £17,000 painting fire engines rainbow colours

‘Fight fire, not culture wars’: Fire services have spent over £17,000 painting fire engines rainbow colours

The brightly colored liveries have been approved by several fire and rescue service leaders across England as part of inclusion and recruitment campaigns since 2017

The brightly colored liveries have been approved by several fire and rescue service leaders across England as part of inclusion and recruitment campaigns since 2017

This expensive livery came from the service’s annual budget, which was £23.2million in 2020/21.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue spent around a thousand pounds less, paying £3,390 in recent years.

The service has an annual budget of around £61m in 2022/23, up from £58.5m in 2021/22.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue has spent £2,284 on rainbow-themed fire engine designs, according to a freedom of information request from the Sun.

The Suffolk Fire Service’s annual budget for 2019/20 was around £21.5million.

Across the country around £35,000 more was spent on rainbow items including flags.

Tom Ryan of the TaxPayers' Alliance think tank said fire chiefs need to recognize that

Tom Ryan of the TaxPayers’ Alliance think tank said fire chiefs need to recognize that “expensive rainbow packaging” does not help deliver “heroic life-saving” firefighting services that we all need to save ourselves in a crisis. Pictured: A firefighter inspects a building as firefighters tackle a fire that broke out near Southwark Bridge and London Bridge Station earlier this month

Tom Ryan (pictured) of the TaxPayers' Alliance slammed the spending, saying taxpayers are

Tom Ryan (pictured) of the TaxPayers’ Alliance slammed the spending, saying taxpayers are “being ripped off in a rush to be right”.

Tom Ryan of the TaxPayers’ Alliance think tank slammed the spending, saying taxpayers “are being ripped off in a rush to get it right”.

He said fire chiefs need to realize that “expensive rainbow packaging” doesn’t help deliver “heroic life-saving” firefighting services that we all need to save ourselves in crises.

Fire departments should “fight fires, not culture wars,” he said.

Oxfordshire County Council told the Sun that its rainbow livery, used on one of its older fire engines, has contributed to its “equality, diversity and inclusion” goals.

Rainbow colors were chosen by Dorset & Wiltshire to ‘encourage inclusivity’ and that the rainbow designs were ‘out of workability’.

Dorset & Wilts said its decoration was “beyond its operational capability” and rainbow colors had been chosen “to encourage inclusivity”.

The colorful designs were a “relatively cheap way of advertising”, according to Suffolk Fire and Rescue.

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Emma Colton

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