Loss of life at Grenfell Tower caused by “deep-seated culture of complacency”

A pamphlet issued by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and launched at the Labour Party’s Annual Conference claims that Government bears ultimate responsibility for the Grenfell Tower fire and that deregulation by consecutive administrations led to the tragedy.

‘The Grenfell Tower Fire: A Crime Caused by Profit and Deregulation’ concludes that central Government has failed to regulate high-rise residential buildings properly for fire safety and that the expertise of firefighters “has mostly been substituted with management consultants, industry lobbyists and chief fire officers. These agents have operated within a political climate that has emphasised the need for reducing regulation.”

Matt Wrack, the FBU’s general secretary, said: “The terrible loss of life at Grenfell Tower was ultimately caused by political decisions made at the highest level. For at least 40 years, policies relating to housing, local Government, the Fire and Rescue Service, research and other areas have been driven by the agenda of cuts, deregulation and privatisation. A deep-seated culture of complacency has developed regarding fire policy and fire safety and central Government bears ultimate responsibility.”

The pamphlet highlights the Blair Government’s 2004 scrapping of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council, Edward Heath’s Government’s removal of a requirement for blocks of flats to have mandatory fire certification from the final Fire Precautions Bill 1970 and the Thatcher Government’s cuts to the Building Regulations from more than 300 pages to just 25, ceasing a formal requirement to ensure buildings were ‘deemed to satisfy’ fire safety regulation

“Cameron’s ‘one in, two out’ policy on new regulations slashed regulations further, with Eric Pickles, then communities secretary, repealing various local building fire safety measures,” states the pamphlet.

“The coalition Government cut fire budgets by around 28% in real terms and ignored warnings from previous fires that raised risks seen at Grenfell, including the Harrow Court fire in 2005, the Lakanal House fire in 2009 and the Shirley Towers fire in 2010.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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