Tories ‘concealed building safety risks’ – Grenfell inquiry hears

Fire victims from the New Providence Wharf development in east London slam the Tory government’s lack of safety regulations

THE GRENFELL Inquiry heard yesterday that the government ‘concealed the risks of building safety’ and that deregulation ‘should be regarded as one of the major scandals of our time’.

The allegations were made by Stephanie Barwise QC, representing some of the bereaved, survivors and residents, who told the inquiry yesterday: ‘The 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 the government becoming the junior partner in the relationship thereby permitting the 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 probably be regarded as one of the major scandals of our time.’
Meanwhile, a resident has spoken up after more than 40 people, including four children, were treated by ambulance crews following a fire in the New Providence Wharf development in east London earlier this year.
Natalie Carter was on a work call when the blaze began in the block near Canary Wharf.
Speaking out on the issue of flammable cladding she said yesterday: ‘We live in a building with Grenfell-style ACM cladding.
‘We found out about this shortly after the Grenfell disaster.
‘In May of this year we had a major fire in which the London Fire Brigades report said that we were minutes away from tragedy.
‘People were hospitalised and to this day children are still traumatised.
‘To know that potentially the government had known about this for many years and not acted upon it allowing the developers to build unsafe homes, is just incredibly alarming, and makes us very, very angry indeed.
‘The fire broke out at around quarter to nine in the morning in Block D. I think it was traced to a faulty fuse box.
‘We heard no audible alarm and Waking Watch could not get above the eighth floor.
‘So the way we found out about it was through a residents’ Watsapp group, where messages were just coming through saying “get out the building! Get out the building!”
‘The fire obviously spread through the flat very quickly and then to the outside of the building where we have got ACM cladding and wooden timber balconies, and it spread very quickly up across three floors.
‘There were people trapped in the building for up to forty minutes. The whole thing was a really terrifying experience. There are children here who can’t sleep through the night. Any time a fire alarm goes off they run out of the room screaming.’

  • The German manufacturer Mercedes announced, ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, that it had signed a partnership with international company Kingspan whose logos have appeared on the nose section of the W12 car in Jeddah.

However, the tie-up has triggered a wave of controversy thanks to Kingspan’s involvement in the 2017 Grenfell fire that killed 72 people.
Kingspan’s insulation was one of the products used on the outside of the North Kensington building, and its role in the tragedy is being probed in the public inquiry.
Campaign group Grenfell United, made up of survivors and bereaved families, have expressed their disgust at the Kingspan sponsorship deal.
World champion Lewis Hamilton, who drives for Mercedes, made it clear he’d had no knowledge of the deal.

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