Grenfell recommendations will be implemented, says Robert Jenrick

Grenfell commemoration Image copyright Reuters

The government is “committed to implementing” all of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said following criticism from Labour.

Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of a “dereliction of duty” after it rejected a Labour proposal which would have implemented the measures.

And the group Grenfell United said it was “outraged” by the government.

But Mr Jenrick said the measures would be put into law after a consultation.

“It’s definitely going to happen,” he told BBC Breakfast, adding that the government wanted to first finish hearing the views of “residents of social housing and the industry”.

He said it would be “irresponsible” to put the measures in place “before we even finish listening to the sector as to how is the best possible way to do this so it actually works”.

The fire safety consultation is due to close on 12 October.

On Monday evening, the government rejected a Labour amendment to the Fire Safety Bill which would have ensured that recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry were put in place.

The party’s amendment required flat owners or building managers in England and Wales to:

  • Share information with their local fire service about the design of external walls and the materials used
  • Carry out regular inspections of lifts and individual flat entrance doors
  • Share evacuation and fire safety instructions with residents of the building

Labour’s shadow Home Office minister Sarah Jones dismissed the government’s explanation that it wanted to complete the consultation before putting the requirements into law.

‘Political will’

“We have seen with Covid what can be done with political will; hospitals built in days, and whole systems restructured to respond where there is a need,” she said.

“If the political will was there, the government would support this new clause and we could take one step in the direction of keeping the promises that we all made in those days and weeks after the Grenfell fire.”

Their amendment was rejected by 318 votes to 188. The Fire Safety Bill cleared the Commons and will now be debated in the House of Lords.

The campaign group for survivors and bereaved families, Grenfell United, tweeted it was “outraged that government and our very own MP Felicity Buchan voted against amendment to implement Grenfell recommendations”.

The tweet said: “It’s no surprise as the Gov continue to fail the country – almost a year since the recommendations and so little has been done. Thousands still in dangerous homes.”

Conservative MP Ms Buchan said the government was “committed to implementing the recommendations” adding “the Labour Party is misrepresenting the vote in the House of Commons yesterday and is wilfully politicising the Grenfell tragedy.”

Image copyright PA Media

The Fire Safety Bill, introduced to prevent future tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire, seeks to clarify who is responsible for fire safety in a block of flats.

Phase two of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry is under way, taking evidence on how the tower came to be in a condition which allowed the fire to spread.

The inquiry’s phase one report, published in 2019, found that the tower’s fire cladding did not comply with building regulations and had fuelled the fire.

Earlier this year, public spending watchdog the NAO said the government still has a “long way to go” to strip all high-rise buildings of cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower.

It said removal work was still outstanding on some 300 buildings. The government said it had provided £1.6bn for cladding removal.