Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:37 pm on 21st January 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North 5:37 pm, 21st January 2020

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that intervention and hope that Ministers are listening, because that is cross-party consensus among people who have more experience than most of representing areas with multiple high rises with high levels of tenure complexity, and who are calling for action to be taken.

Finally, there has been talk in this debate, and certainly in the inquiry report and elsewhere, about the higher level of risk-assessment work that needs to be done, whether in terms of fitting sprinklers or other safety arrangements, and about the levels of inspections that need to be undertaken. I remain to be convinced that the Government have a proper plan for capacity for those people who will carry out that level of inspection. My worry is that even when the legislative change comes—it is too late, but it is coming—there will still be a bottleneck because the Government have not planned out the resource necessary to do the risk assessment and the inspection work. What assessment have Ministers made of the training and human resources necessary to ensure that we do not find that, even in the aftermath of legislation, we are still a year, two years or three years late in carrying out the work because there simply are not the skilled and trained people required to carry out the work?

There is a powerful responsibility on everyone in the House, but especially the Government, to honour the memory of those who died in the Grenfell fire by acting not just thoroughly and rigorously but swiftly, even at this relatively late hour, to make sure that measures are in place so that nothing like the Grenfell horror can ever happen again. It is clear from today’s debate that there is a long way to go. I hope that, when the Minister responds to the debate, he will be able to give some answers to those who have spoken and assure them that that lesson has been learned.