Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

February 15, 2011 07:15 ET

London's Fire Service "Seriously Compromised" by Reliance on AssetCo

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 15, 2011) - The effectiveness of London's fire service is now seriously compromised by the commercial and operational problems of AssetCo, which has a contract for the maintenance of all London's fire engines, and is in line for further contracts, the Fire Brigades Union said today.

The company's financial problems, widely reported today, are reflected in serious operational difficulties. For nearly four months it has had custody of 27 of London's fire engines, and was supposed to return them to their fire stations as soon as agreement was reached between the London Fire Brigade and the Fire Brigades Union. 

That agreement was finalised early on Friday afternoon, but for some reason the company was unable to return them, either on Friday or over the weekend. On Monday it did not have the drivers available to return them, and the London Fire Brigade had to send its own drivers to collect them.

The company is still in line for another huge contract from the London Fire Brigade, to provide all LFB's training.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said today:

"The recent fiasco of the 27 fire engines is a straw in the wind. A company which is struggling financially must be tempted to cut corners.

"The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority wants to privatise as much as possible of LFB's work, at any cost, for narrow ideological reasons; and it appears to want AssetCo, whose top directors are close to LFEPA chairman Brian Coleman, to get the work.

"The cost will be paid by Londoners in a lower standard of safety. Firefighters and local communities cannot afford to rely on the success or otherwise of a private company to ensure they have fire engines available. Fire engines should be owned and maintained within the fire and rescue service. 

"If it all goes wrong the government will have to pick up the pieces, and we are advising ministers to ensure that the work is taken back into the public sector. The only safe thing to do now is to take the work back into the London Fire Brigade."

Contact Information

  • Francis Beckett
    020 8349 9194 or 07813 001372