In a move that ought to be astonishing, even unbelievable – but is anything but – the government will not ban the use of flammable cladding or untested cladding systems as a result of the terrible loss of life caused, and the suffering inflicted on the survivors by, the Grenfell Tower blaze.
The ‘Hackitt Review’, commissioned by the government to examine building regulations after flammable cladding – “like a candle sandwiched between two sheets of metal” according to fire safety expert Arnold Tarling – even though a recently-leaked report by fire investigation experts BRE Global stated that not a single life would have been lost at Grenfell had the building not been sheathed in cladding panels.
Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, whose constituents died in the needless tragedy and who has fought tirelessly for the survivors in spite of persistent attacks from vested interests, expressed her outrage and disbelief on social media:
Various groups, including the Local Government Association (LGA), the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Commons Housing Select Committee, have repeatedly asked on the report’s author, Dame Judith Hackitt, to recommend a ban on flammable materials and unsuitable ‘desktop’ flammability tests, but the report is believed to include no such recommendations.
Like Ms Dent Coad, the LGA has said that it will call immediately for a new review with a ban on flammable cladding and a complete rewriting of testing regulations.
The Tories have already betrayed the victims and survivors of the Grenfell fire by breaking Theresa May’s promise to rehome survivors within three weeks, by failing to fund the installation of sprinklers in high-rise dwellings and by refusing to pay for the removal of dangerous cladding.
It now looks set to add a further betrayal in a move that goes against not only reason but the cast-iron verdict of experts.
Yet again, this despicable Conservative government is displaying its contempt for ordinary people.
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