Monday, 4 April 2011

Beckett: 'The scandal the nationals won't touch'

Francis Beckett has a tantalising post on his blog, headlined : "The scandal the nationals won't touch".

Beckett, who is a spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union, claims the national press is "hardly touching" the financial problems and controversies surrounding AssetCo, a company with multi million pound contracts to own and maintain all London's and Lincolshire's fire engines.

Beckett says: "If it [AssetCo] goes under, we could lose all our fire engines to the company's creditors. The London Fire Brigade says there's a clause in the contract which protects the fire engines - but it won't show us the clause. When it eventually, unwillingly, released the contract, the relevant clause was 'redacted'."

He argues the story is getting little national publicity because the demise of labour and industrial correspondents means the story is ending up on city desks.

Beckett says: "City journalists are terrified of writing anything which might bring down a company's share price. They are also instinctively unwilling to take anything from a trade union, and it's the Fire Brigades Union which helped expose this story. When there were industrial corrs, they'd say: 'It comes from the union - but it's a good story.' Now city desks say: 'It's a good story - but it comes from the unions'."


Tony Lloyd said...

If it [AssetCo] goes under, we could lose all our fire engines to the company's creditors.

Unless "we" is "AssetCo" then "we" do not have the fire engines to lose: they are owned by AssetCo.

If AssetCo goes under then the ownership of the engines will be transferred to the creditors for sale to a third party. This invites the question:

"What does a third party want with Fire Engines?"

About the only thing any third party can do with the Fire Engines is:
1. Rent them out to the Fire Brigade
2. Flog 'em to the Fire Brigade

What would happen next would depend on:
1. Can the contract that forces the Fire Brigade to rent off Assetco be transferred? If so, no big deal, the rental continues as before.
2. Can the Fire Brigade replace the fire engines at short notice? a) If not, they might be forced to rent off of the new owners at the new owners new prices.
b) If yes, then Fire Brigade can replace it's fire engines and leave the creditors with a few useless red lorries on it's hands. Or the Fire Brigade could bung 'em £1,000, for the lot. Tohelp them out of a spot.

Anonymous said...

Hoorah for privatisation, what could possibly go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how alll fire departments are primarily white? Ocassional token non-white here or there, but it seems obvious they reserve these soft easy money spots for those who fit their ideal for their "fraternity".
And the pay/benefit package!!! This is an industry which needs privitization, let alone austerity.
If not for that family those three men would still be alive.
How many have to die? If another loses his life will this stop?