Firefighters in Surrey are balloting on industrial action to commence on 24 December, after exhausting all other avenues to prevent dangerous cuts to their fire and rescue service.

Despite 13,000 people signing a petition opposing the cuts – which include removing seven fire engines at night-time and cutting 70 firefighter posts – they were approved by Tory-run Surrey County Council at a cabinet meeting.

This year has seen the steepest rise in Surrey fire deaths in over a decade. Staffing shortages in Surrey have left fire engines unavailable to respond to emergency calls over the last year, resulting in slower response times as crews often have to travel from neighbouring counties.