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Labour calls for Grenfell recommendations to be made law

LABOUR is seeking legislative reforms to fire safety as ministers have made a “shameful” lack of progress in dealing with concerns since the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy, the party said yesterday.

It said that it plans to use the Fire Safety Bill to try to force the government to implement the vital recommendations in the Grenfell inquiry.  

A new clause one tabled for the 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 have 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.

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

The Justice4Grenfell campaign welcomed the Labour Party’s intervention.

Spokeswoman Yvette Williams said: “Both the May and Johnson governments have been appallingly tardy and negligent on fire safety. Recommendations following phase one of the Grenfell Tower inquiry, made nearly a year ago, have not been fully implemented. This demonstrates a level of indifference and lack of humanity for the value of human life in our society. 

“We would expect the next steps to include increased funding and a firm exit date for the removal of flammable cladding from over 20,000 households; the inclusion of issues of race and class in the inquiry’s terms of reference and a composite look at social housing conditions and homes for all.”

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.

In August, government figures showed that over 80 per cent of private-sector residential buildings and nearly half of social sector residential buildings were still wrapped in Grenfell-style ACM cladding. 

Labour’s shadow policing and fire minister Sarah Jones said: “Over three years after Grenfell, it is shameful how little progress has been made. 

“The government has continuously broken its 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.”

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