The Grenfell Tower fire occurred partly as a result of an “unbridled passion for deregulation”, the inquiry into the deadly blaze has heard. Additionally, it also heard that a desire to boost housing construction led to the industry being allowed to exploit regulations.
A lawyer, representing some of those who survived the fire as well as the loved ones of some who did not, said there had been a
prolonged period of concealment by Government which should properly be regarded as one of the major scandals of our time.
The latest stage of the inquiry
Module six of the inquiry’s second phase is looking at the regime for the testing, certification and classification of materials for use in external cladding systems, and examining the role of central government in establishing the legislative regime and formulating guidance on how to comply with it.
Counsel to the inquiry, Richard Millett QC, said the module will look at four “essential” questions. He listed these as:
- Whether the risks from fire in high rise buildings were properly understood by Government before the Grenfell blaze?
- Whether lessons had been learned from previous relevant incidents in the UK and overseas?
- Which steps had or had not been taken by Government to address the risks from fire in high rise buildings?
- What motivated Government in its approach to fire safety before the 2017 disaster?
Phase two of the inquiry is examining how Grenfell Tower came to be coated in flammable materials which contributed to the spread of flames, which shot up the tower in June that year, killing 72 people.
“An unbridled passion for deregulation”
Stephanie Barwise QC, representing some of the bereaved, survivors and residents, told the inquiry:
The Grenfell disaster is a predictable, yet unintended, consequence of the combination of the laudable desire to reduce carbon emissions, coupled with an unbridled passion for deregulation, in particular a desire to deregulate and boost the housing construction industry.
Government’s dependency on that industry resulted in Government becoming the junior partner in the relationship, thereby permitting industry’s exploitation of the regulations.
Government’s response, on realising the extent of the problem, was to react by concealment, instead of candour.
The result is a prolonged period of concealment by Government, which should properly be regarded as one of the major scandals of our time.
Ahead of Monday’s hearing Grenfell United said the “the spotlight will finally fall on the Government” in this part of the inquiry. In a statement, the group for bereaved and survivors said:
Government’s indifference to safety has been going on for decades and, had it not been for the loss of our families in the most public way, people would still be oblivious to how deadly their homes really are.
While Grenfell United has campaigned for safer homes and the banning of deadly materials, Government ministers were all too happy to be wined and dined by the same companies responsible for Grenfell.
The group said the line “between lobbying and corruption is dangerously thin and the grey area has left 72 dead”.
This ugly reality is more evident than ever, so we need to know how far the rot goes – as no-one should be exempt from real accountability.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?