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Grenfell Tower fire: Response and tackling fire risk in high rise blocks

Published Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, this paper sets out the events and commentary around the fire, the relevant building regulations, fire safety laws and housing standards, the Government response to the fire, the responsibilities around re-housing, and previous concerns raised with fire regulations.

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On 14 June 2017 a fire broke out at Grenfell Tower, a 24 storey residential housing block in North Kensington, London. At the time of writing 80 people are dead or missing presumed dead.

The tower, which provides social housing, contains 129 flats. The block is owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea but management of the block is the responsibility of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation.

The fire appeared to spread rapidly up the building and concerns have been raised over recent renovations and fire safety measures in place.

The Prime Minister announced a £5 million Grenfell Tower Residents’ Discretionary fund to support those affected by the fire. A public inquiry, reporting to the Prime Minister, has also been announced.

A Library briefing on Inquests and public inquiries provides further detail on how they work.

This paper sets out the events and commentary around the fire, the relevant building regulations, fire safety laws and housing standards, the Government response to the fire, the responsibilities around rehousing, and previous concerns raised with fire regulations. It also covers responses from the devolved administrations, as fire safety and building regulations are a devolved matter.

The Prime Minister made a statement to the House on the fire on 22 June 2017. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, made a statement on Grenfell Tower and fire safety on 26 June. An adjournment debate on the Grenfell Tower Fire took place on Monday 26 June sponsored by Jim Fitzpatrick MP. The chair of the Public Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, was announced on 29 June. Further statements to the House were made on 3 July by Sajid Javid on the Government response and safety inspections of other buildings, and on 5 July by Alok Sharma on work to rehouse residents after the fire.

The Government announced the creation of a Grenfell Tower Recover Taskforce to support the local authority on 26 July. In addition it announced a review of building regulations and fire safety on 28 July, to report in Spring 2018.

There was also a general debate on the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry in the chamber of the House of Commons on 12 July 2007.

The Department for Communties and Local Government has a page on Grenfell Tower with links to all relevant Government information.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7993

Authors: Wendy Wilson; Elena Ares; Edward Potton

Topics: Housing, Housing standards, Social rented housing

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