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Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:10 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 4:10 pm, 30th October 2019

As the Prime Minister and I have made clear, and as Sir Martin has made clear in his report, we have the greatest admiration for firefighters. The next phase of the report will answer the question of how the cladding, which was not compliant with building regulations, ended up on the building and was such a primary cause of the tragedy.

In the few minutes remaining, let me answer as many of the questions raised as I can. The important questions in respect of sprinklers, signage and fire doors must now be taken forward. We have already announced—in fact, it was one of my first decisions as Secretary of State—that we will consult on reducing the building height at which sprinklers are required. It is not the case that retrofitting sprinklers is necessarily the right course of action for all buildings. Dame Judith Hackitt said in her review that it was not always the answer. What was required was a serious, independent, individual fire safety assessment of every at-risk building, and for the evidence to lead to actions.

I urge developers and building owners to consider Sir Martin’s report and Dame Judith’s report and to act on their recommendations now. We do not need to wait until legislation is in place, although people should be under no doubt that we will take it forward regardless. Building owners must take action.