Following the news that AssetCo, the company which owned and controlled all London’s fire engines, has sold them to investment company AB&A in order to help pay its debts, the Fire Brigades Union today accused the London Fire Brigade and the Fire Authority of incompetence and having “handed over control of the fire service to hedge fund managers”.
Assistant General Secretary Andy Dark said: “The foolish decision taken in 2001 to hand over the fire engines to AssetCo was opposed by the FBU. At every stage in this hideous saga, I and my colleagues have witnessed an appalling catalogue of failures.
“This latest episode which has seen the fleet sold to another company for a reported £2 is a national scandal. London Fire Brigade serves 7 million people, and we understand that they were simply notified of the decision.
“The London Fire Brigade, the Fire Authority, the parent body which is the Greater London Authority and London Mayor Boris Johnson have failed the people of London and the rest of the UK.
“These are public assets over which the London Fire Brigade and the elected politicians have no control. They must be brought back into public ownership under direct local authority control.
“The Government is encouraging the carving up of the emergency services and it has to end. The fire service is made up of the firefighters and the fire engines which carry the kit. The London Fire Brigade doesn’t own the fire engines or the kit and has no ability to stop the assets being sold on from firm to firm.
“National resilience and public safety is being put at risk here.”