London Fire Brigade Fire Engines

Did you know that the Fire Engines in London are own by a private company? and of course its costing us money


Media outlets began reporting late on Wednesday that AssetCo, the crisis-hit private company which owns and maintains London’s fire engines, had rushed through the sale of its UK business to AB&A Investments, an obscure South African equity firm about which precious little appears to be known by anyone.

This is understood to mean that the entire fleet of the capital’s fire engines and 50,000 items of operational equipment have unexpectedly fallen into the hands of this company. The transaction was completed for the princely sum of…two pounds!

AssetCo had already been given formal notice by the London Fire Brigade that termination of the contract between the two parties was being considered due to a sharp deterioration in the company’s performance over recent months.

Sources have told the FBU that the brigade was kept in the dark about the sale until late on Wednesday, and the news has led to a flurry of questions about the new owners and the status of the engines.

Speaking today, the FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said: “Just when we thought the situation couldn’t get any worse, this happens. We had been anticipating the termination of the contract between the brigade and AssetCo, which would probably have seen the fleet rightfully returned to public ownership. But it appears that the company has caught everyone on the hop with this sudden sale.

“It is breathtaking to think that the entire fleet of London’s fire engines can be flogged off for just two pounds, to a company based 6,000 miles away and about which no-one seems to know a thing. It is more astounding that senior London Fire Brigade managers and politicians appear to have absolutely no influence over that transaction and are completely at the mercy of events.

“We have contacted the brigade to seek urgent clarification about the new owners and the implications for the fleet of appliances and equipment. We need confirmation about whether this South African company is indeed the new owner, and what its background is.

“Above all, this episode once again demonstrates the sheer folly of the original decision to sell off London’s fire engines to a firm of chancers whose success was entirely contingent on the stock market. The fall-out from this calamitous episode in privatisation has been acute. Fire engines and equipment belong in public hands, and the sooner they are returned to the ownership of Londoners, the better.”    

Yours in unity

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