The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has today raised serious concerns over a multi-million pound donation to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) by the London Freemasons.
The society will gift LFB £2.5m for the purchase of two extended height aerial vehicles. London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton had asked for the specialist equipment as part of a review into the brigade’s resources that she was asked to undertake by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in July.
But now the vehicles will be provided for on a charitable basis. The FBU says it is extremely concerned that a life-saving public service is now relying on handouts rather than adequate funding from the government.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “Whilst we appreciate the charity of anyone who wishes to support our firefighters, the idea that a professional, life-saving public service has to go around with a begging bowl to organisations with deep pockets is deeply alarming.
“If the equipment is needed to save lives, then the funding for it should be provided by government. This deal sets a pretty awful precedent that could allow the government to discharge its responsibilities in the future.
“We also have grave concerns that the donation in question has come from an organisation that disbars women from joining – a deeply offensive practice that needs to come to an end.”