The incredible scandal surrounding the botched privatisation of London Fire Brigade takes yet another mad twist.
Sir Aubrey Brocklebank, the baronet who bought the brigade’s entire fire engine fleet for £2 just three months ago, has had his contract terminated by the London Fire Brigade today. His company has gone into administration only four months afterv it was set up, it was among a string of companies that appear to have been set up by the baronet only to fail.
The eccentric baronet who loves to race ageing 2cv’s at racetracks across the UK and lives in a three bed semi in Wellingborough, Northants, thought he could make a fast buck by selling on the company. There is a previous blog which will tell you everything you need to know about him on this site.
You the council taxpayers have been paying this man £1.5m a month to look after London’s fleet. He got this at a knock down price because the Greater London Authority foolishly sold off London’s fire engines and a 20 year lease on its own maintenance headquarters in Ruislip to a private firm.
The firm was sold on to AssetCo ( which I have written about extensively) whose own chief executive, John Shannon, dismissed by the firm, after he left it teetering on bankruptcy. He is now going bust himself. The engines are at present owned by bankers, Lloyds TSB, one of the chief creditors of AssetCo London which had over £30m in debts and haven’t a penny to replace the ailing fleet of engines from 2014. This has been admitted by Sue Budden, director of finance,of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. She told councillors at a meeting in September: “When they look ahead and look at the big vehicle replacement that is due to start in 2014, I think they can see they are not set up to cover that.” The full story by me is on the Exaro news website at http://www.exaronews.com.
Now it emerges surprise, surprise that after a few months that he can’t deliver and the authority has had to use emergency powers to end the contract and has handed it over to Babcock without any tender competition. The interim contract will last next 18 months.
This is their statement:
LONDON FIRE BRIGADE APPOINTS BABCOCK TO MANAGE 999 FLEET
London Fire Brigade has appointed Babcock International Group to manage and maintain its fleet of fire engines and specialist equipment on an interim basis.
Due to a deterioration of the services provided by Premier Fire Serve Limited (previously called AssetCo London Ltd), the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, which runs the Brigade, has exercised its right to terminate the contract and appoint a new provider.
While, undertaking a full, competitive procurement of the services, it has appointed Babcock to maintain the fleet on an interim basis of 18 months until the new provider has been appointed.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “This move should stabilise the way in which our vehicles and equipment are managed and enable London Fire Brigade to continue to provide the Capital with the world-class fire and rescue service it deserves.”
However London Assembly’s Green Party spokesman Darren Johnson said:
“The sensible long term solution is to bring the contract in house and scrap the PFI arrangement. Many other fire authorities have a straight forward leasing arrangement. I hope that both the Mayor and the Government will see sense and recognise that the experiment with PFI has failed. We shouldn’t be taking financial risks with something so essential as our fire engines. Government funding guarentees for PFI credits could be better spent on developing an in house contract.”
what a mess!
AND THERE IS REPORT FROM DONEGAL REPORTING THIS FALL OUT
WORKERS LEFT SHOCKED AS DONEGAL CALL-CENTRE CLOSES WITH LOSS OF 30 JOBS
Workers at the Buncrana-based Assetco Manage Services ROI were told the bad news this afternoon.
The company, is part of a larger company, Assetco London Ltd, which works with London Fire Brigade.
London Fire Brigade failed to renew a major contract for Assetco London Ltd leaving workers out in the cold.
Shell-shocked workers at the company, based at the IDA Business Park in Lisfannon since 2006, were told the news today.
Even worse is the fact that none of the workers will be paid redundancies.
Ironically most of the London-based employees will be taken on by the company who won the new contract, Babcock.
However, the Irish company have not been given part of that new contract and will lose their jobs.
Members of KPMG, who are acting on behalf on London banks, turned up at the Buncrana company’s headquarters today to break the news.
Angry workers say they are outraged at how they have been treated.
A spokesman told Donegal Daily that they are considering their positions and are even thinking of staging sit-in at the plant.
“We have been very loyal to Assetco London and this is how we have been rewarded.
“We would like London Fire Brigade to know this and to know how we are being treated.
“There are 30 families being thrown on the scrapheap just before Christmas it’s just not on,” said a spokesman.