Labour calls for fire safety reforms amid 'shameful' lack of progress after Grenfell Tower disaster

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  • September 6, 2020
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Ministers have made a “shameful” lack of progress in dealing with fire safety concerns since the Grenfell Tower disaster, Labour said.

The Labour Party wants to amend key legislation to ensure the Government implements recommendations made by the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry.

A new clause tabled for the Fire Safety Bill would require owners or managers of flats to share information with their local fire service about the design and materials of the external walls.

They would also be required to carry out regular inspections of lifts and individual flat entrance doors, while evacuation and fire safety instructions must be shared with residents of the building.

Labour also wants fire risk assessors to be accredited and clarity on when waking watches should be in place for buildings with fire safety failures.

Protesters outside the Grenfell Tower public inquiry in London in January (PA)

The Bill amends regulations in a bid to offer greater clarity over who is responsible for fire safety in blocks of flats.

The legislation was developed in response to the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14, 2017, which claimed 72 lives.

An electrical fault with a fridge-freezer sparked the catastrophic fire.

An electrical fault with a fridge-freezer sparked the fire which killed 72 people (PA)

The Grenfell Inquiry’s phase one report, published in October 2019, found the tower’s cladding did not comply with building regulations and was the “principal” reason for the fire’s rapid spread

Shadow fire minister Sarah Jones, speaking ahead of the Bill undergoing its remaining stages in the Commons on Monday, said: “More than three years after Grenfell, it is shameful how little progress has been made.

“The Government has continuously broken their promises, while tens of thousands of people across the country are stuck living in unsafe flats.

“The victims and survivors of Grenfell are still waiting for justice. This is completely unacceptable.

“Labour’s amendment to the Bill is an attempt to force the Government to deliver the recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry’s phase one report.

“Every measure necessary should be put in place to prevent a fire like Grenfell from ever happening again.

“We urge the Government to honour their promises and back the amendment and get the work done.”