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Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow 3:38 pm, 30th October 2019

Let me start by joining other Members in commemorating the 72 people who lost their lives in the Grenfell tragedy, which was completely needless: it was a man-made disaster. I also want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of community organisations but, most importantly, of public servants such as firefighters, who worked incredibly hard to save people.

As others have pointed out, the issue with ACM cladding affects many thousands of residents across the country, in social housing as well as in private housing blocks. My constituency has among the largest number of ACM-clad blocks, and Tower Hamlets as a whole probably has the most blocks. Families are living in fear of their lives because of the failure of the Government to take urgent action. After continuous campaigning with Inside Housing, Grenfell United, the survivors and colleagues across the House, some funding has been provided, but it is not enough and it does not address the wider systemic failures that the Grenfell fire disaster exposed. That is why we have continually called on the Government to ensure that the resources are available and to take action to go after private freehold owners of private blocks, because our constituents are being left to take that fight to them. It has been over two and a half years, and very few of those blocks have had work undertaken on them to remove cladding. The lack of urgency from the Government is extremely worrying, because we all have to deal with the spectre of other fires that have taken place since Grenfell and the risk of further fires and disasters happening if action is not taken quickly.

In addition, the Government’s actions to deregulate have meant that residents do not have recourse to the support necessary to deal with problems when they arise. I ask Ministers to urgently address that matter rather than waiting for the inquiry’s further findings and reports to come out. The Government know what the problems are. They know that these actions can be taken immediately to provide remedy and reassurance to our constituents and the resources that are required to ensure that they can live in safety.

My final point is that, instead of constantly making excuses, the Government should ensure that they take action. That is what we all expect. That is what the survivors of Grenfell expect, and it is what the victims deserve.