Government ‘still not doing enough’ over cladding after Grenfell tragedy

Support us and go ad-free

The Government is “still not doing enough” to remove dangerous cladding from buildings more than two years on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a report has said.

The Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report accuses the Government of being “far too slow” in its response to the blaze, which killed 72 people in June 2017.

The report further warns that the £200 million set aside for remediation of private sector residential buildings with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding will not be enough.

(PA Graphics)

The spread of the fire at Grenfell has been linked to the use of ACM in its cladding.

Referring to the support given to survivors and relatives, the report claims the re-housing of residents was “too slow” and that significant issues remain with much of the accommodation provided.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Survivors have also not been given sufficient health screening to identify the long-term effects of the blaze, particularly the inhalation of noxious chemicals, the committee said.

Labour MP Clive Betts, the committee’s chairman, accused the Government of being “far behind” where it should be in its response.

He said: “Further delay is simply not acceptable. The Government cannot morally justify funding the replacement of one form of dangerous cladding, but not others.

“It should immediately extend its fund to cover the removal and replacement of any form of combustible cladding, as defined by the Government’s combustible cladding ban, from any high-rise or high-risk building.”

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the report was an “official warning” that the Tories had not done enough to prevent another tragedy.

“For two years, Government action has been too slow and too weak,” the Labour MP added.

“Ministers must now step in and set a hard deadline to replace all dangerous cladding, toughen sanctions against block owners that won’t do the work and fund the retrofit of sprinklers in all high-risk social housing blocks.”

The report said greater urgency was needed to establish an effective regulatory system to ensure building safety in the long-term.

The committee said it was “frustrated” that more than a year since the publication of the final report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, the Government had only recently started consulting on its proposals for the new regulatory regime.

It said the regulatory system should apply to all buildings housing vulnerable people, and go beyond the existing boundary of buildings above 18 metres in height.

Mr Betts said: “The Government must pick up the pace of reform, before it is too late.”

The committee report calls for the Government to set a “realistic and short deadline” for the removal of any form of dangerous cladding.

It states this should be supported by adequate funding and sanctions for building owners who fail to make their properties safe within a reasonable time-frame.

Sufficient funding is also called for to guarantee that all forms of combustible cladding are removed.

The committee said a “comprehensive” programme of health services must be provided to survivors, beyond what has already been announced by the Government.

It also wants action to be taken to understand any long-term environmental impacts around the Grenfell site.

Research by the University of Central Lancashire found there were toxic chemicals in soil samples taken from around the Grenfell site six months after the fire.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This report echoes all of the warnings we have made about the Government’s half-hearted response to Grenfell.

“The removal of flammable ACM cladding has been painstakingly slow – only one building had its ACM cladding removed last month.

“The Government’s approach has also abandoned the tens of thousands of people in buildings covered with other flammable materials.”

He added: “As things stand, there has been virtually nothing done to prevent another fire like Grenfell from happening.

“Time and time again, we have raised the issues in this report, but the silence from Government is deafening.

“This is a national emergency which is being met by the Government with utter complacency.”

Support us and go ad-free

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?

The Canary Support us