Grenfell Tower - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:51 pm on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 6:51 pm, 11th June 2018

I thank the noble Lord very much indeed for that and shall seek to deal with the points that he has raised. On remediation, I do not disagree with him on the importance of ensuring that any appropriate measures take account of the need for proper insulation and ensuring that we meet our climate change targets, and so on—but the most important thing here is the target of ensuring that people are safe. That is the remediation that we are talking about. That work in relation to the public sector has started on two-thirds of buildings. In relation to the other third, interim measures will be in place; for example, 24/7 security workers will be there to ensure that fire wardens are there.

I shall seek to cover the point on the timescale in a letter, if I may, with some more detail that the noble Lord asked for. One reason why the work might not have started on one-third of the buildings is that it may displace tenants—so full account must be taken of that. Suffice it to say, appropriate interim measures will be agreed with fire and rescue authorities in relation to those that have not had work started on them yet.

The noble Lord asked for a debate on the social housing Green Paper, and I hope that we can accommodate that. Of course, there are means available to the Liberal Democrats and others, too, and I am sure that somehow we will make sure that there is proper consideration of this important Green Paper. One reason for the delay to which the noble Lord refers is that we were very keen to talk to people, through Grenfell United and others in the community, to learn about particular points that they may feel needed addressing in relation to the social sector—points that have been made in relation to dealing with complaints, and so on, that arise. That is one reason that it was felt appropriate to take that into account in working through the Green Paper.