Firebuy has rejected comments made by Cllr Brian Coleman on the announcement of its closure. Firebuy is the National Procurement Agency for the English Fire and Rescue Service which was included in the government's arm's length body (Quango) closure programme announced last week.

Cllr Brian Coleman, Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: "This is a very sensible outcome for the Fire and Rescue Service. We never bought anything using Firebuy in London, and fire authorities must be free to independently manage procurement of services and equipment."

Firebuy claims that its records show London Fire Brigade has spent £5 million with the agency on a complete change of their breathing apparatus equipment, gas tight suits used for chemical incidents and smoke alarms. "They have benefited from the competitive deals and efficiencies as much as other customers including those from outside the FRS," a spokesperson told FIRE.

Shona Dunn, Director Fire and Resilience, Communities and Local Government, said of the announcement: "The decision to close Firebuy has not arisen from concerns about the operation of the organisation or the need for the services it offers. Firebuy has undertaken valuable work to streamline procurement arrangements, and to secure efficiency savings, which is a tribute to the professionalism and dedication of its staff. Ministers consider the sort of functions Firebuy currently carries out should be devolved away from central government."

Communities and Local Government is looking for expressions of interest from fire and rescue services (or a group of services) and buying organisations to take over the 18 framework agreements Firebuy is currently managing.

Updated 22nd October.