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Grenfell Tower Block Fire

The Grenfell Tower fire is a tragedy that has shocked the whole country and should never have been able to happen.

The Queen’s Speech on 21 June confirmed that there will be a public inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower and included a commitment to publish interim findings. I welcome this decision as a good start, but believe there is much more that must be done. In particular, I believe the inquiry should publish its initial findings this summer in order to allow urgent action to be taken where necessary.

The Government should also now set out a plan to retrofit high-rise blocks with sprinklers, starting with the highest risks buildings, and to overhaul inadequate building regulations.

It is essential that all tower blocks have up-to-date advice about what to do in the event of a fire and full safety checks should be undertaken for all high-rise blocks to ensure there are no serious outstanding fire risks. I welcome the Government’s decision to conduct an audit of all high rises in England by local authority. I will monitor the progress of this audit closely.

There are thousands of tower blocks across the country and every person living in one deserves to know how this tragic event happened and what will be done to ensure it never happens again. The Labour Party is committed to holding the Government to account on this important issue.

Locally, I have written to Your Homes Newcastle with questions regarding the cladding used on the buildings they manage, the installation of sprinklers, the dry/wet riser systems, the functionality of the fire doors, the regularity of fire inspections and the current building regulations. I have also written to Newcastle and Northumbria University regarding student blocks and the Byker Community Trust. Click here to see my letter to Your Homes Newcastle.

In light of the Grenfell fire, The Chronicle has launched a campaign demanding action on five points related to fire safety in tower blocks. I have added my support to this campaign. Click here to see the Chronicle article about the campaign.

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