Labour seeks fire safety reforms amid ‘shameful’ lack of progress post-Grenfell

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

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

A new clause one 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.

Tower block fire in London
People at the Grenfell Memorial Community Mosaic at the base of the tower block in London on the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire which claimed 72 lives on June 14 2017 (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

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 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.

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.”

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