Remembering Grenfell and strengthening fire safety

Published Monday, 15th June 2020

A statement from Councillor Jayne McCoy, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee.

"Yesterday was the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people lost their lives and many more lives were changed forever. We marked the anniversary by going Green for Grenfell, and Councillor Trish Fivey, Mayor of Sutton, was in Sutton High Street to stand in solidarity with all of those affected by this tragedy on behalf of everyone in our borough. 

"Grenfell can never be allowed to happen again; everyone has a right to a home in which they are safe. I hope that this anniversary will bring renewed focus to addressing the problems in our building regulations and fire safety system, as identified in the Hackitt Report and which are still coming to light in the public enquiry. 

"In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy councils, including Sutton, acted quickly to reassure residents and undertake the necessary remediation works in light of Grenfell. But it is deeply concerning that three years after the fire the Government still hasn’t implemented its plans for a more rigorous regulatory system or committed the funding required to complete the remediation works. Thousands of buildings are still covered in potentially dangerous cladding, and the Government is yet to publish its promised white paper on social housing reforms and empowering tenants. 

"During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, when we are all spending more time at home, thousands of people across the country have been confined to unsafe buildings and we cannot forget that they are living with the effects of this every day. 

"We know that COVID-19 is laying bare the inequalities that exist in this country. Communities that are most affected by overcrowded housing are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and the recent Public Health England report found that mortality rates in the most deprived areas are twice those in the least deprived. The Grenfell fire was a manifestation of these same inequalities and of what can happen when people’s concerns are ignored. 

"Only through wholesale reform can we ensure the safety of taller buildings and properties housing vulnerable people. The Government must act decisively to rectify the lack of accountability in our building regulations systems, before more lives are lost."