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Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 21st January 2020.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 3:35 pm, 21st January 2020

My right hon. Friend makes a series of extremely important points. Those issues have been brought to the attention of all the emergency services; they are now working through them. The Home Office is helping to co-ordinate that work and, like her, I hope that those lessons are learned as quickly as possible so that if we are ever presented with a tragedy on this scale again all the emergency services can work together as one, in a co-ordinated way.

Fire and rescue services need urgently to address these issues and must set out their plans to do so. There have been some welcome developments, including, for example, that the London Fire Brigade now carries smoke hoods on its fire engines; that five pumps and a drone, rather than four pumps, are now deployed to fires in high-rise buildings; and that the London Fire Brigade has already taken steps to ensure that personnel understand the risk of fire taking hold in external wall systems. My hon. Friend the Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service will address the House at the end of the debate on the work he is doing with the sector.

The work I have outlined shows the urgency with which we are addressing Sir Martin’s recommendations. The Government did not wait for the phase 1 report to begin addressing the most pressing building safety issues. We took immediate action in the aftermath of the fire with a comprehensive and independent review of building safety, chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt.