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Firefighters important new report on Grenfell

Fire fighters:  Austerity and privatisation by consecutive governments led to Grenfell

 

An important new report from the Fire Brigade Union (FBU), points to the real causes of the fire at Grenfell Tower.

 

Matt Wrack

 

The expertise of firefighters “has mostly been substituted with management consultants, industry lobbyists and chief fire officers” operating in a political climate that has “emphasised the need for reducing regulation driven by central government”, the report concludes.

 

Cuts, deregulation and privatisation

 

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “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.”

 

Speaking to the Independent, and welcoming the report, Kenington MP Emma Dent Coad said that it was time for governments past and present to accept responsibility for the results of the “decimation” of fire and building regulations and the privatisation of monitoring and testing services.

 

Tenant's warnings

 

She said, “Their actions created the circumstances where an atrocity like Grenfell was inevitable. However, this lets no one off the hook at [the council] or Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. If they had listened to tenants’ warnings, and dealt with the safety concerns raised, more people could have been saved.

 

Emma Dent Coad MP

 

So I say to both national and local governments – stop playing pass the parcel of blame. Accept your responsibilities. Take action now to save lives.”

 

The report makes many points that we in the Unite housing workers branch have been making.  We would also underline the commercialisation and deregulation of social landlords and the changes to the role of housing managers.  The report can be downloaded here.

 

 

Paul Kershaw 23 September 2019

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