Labour accuses Welwyn Hatfield MP of broken promises on fire safety after Grenfell

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 September 2020

A banner with a green heart is wrapped around the Grenfell Tower, which claimed 72 lives. PHOTO: Victoria Jones / PA Wire/PA Images

A banner with a green heart is wrapped around the Grenfell Tower, which claimed 72 lives. PHOTO: Victoria Jones / PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

The Welwyn Hatfield Labour party has accused our parliamentary representative in Westminster of breaking promises on fire safety post-Grenfell.

Grant Shapps, the MP for Welwyn Hatfield. Picture: Richard Townshend.Grant Shapps, the MP for Welwyn Hatfield. Picture: Richard Townshend.

MP Grant Shapps voted against the Fire Safety Bill which recommends, as part of Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, that building owners or managers share information with local fire and rescue services about the building’s design and the materials of the external walls, undertake regular inspections of individual flat entrance doors and lifts, and share evacuation and fire safety instructions with residents.

Councillor Kieran Thorpe, Labour Group Leader in Welwyn Hatfield, said: “This is a shameful U-turn from the Conservatives. They have broken a solemn promise to take action following the Grenfell Inquiry.

“They continue to shirk responsibility on fire safety after the most powerful and tragic lesson imaginable. Despite saying this must never happen again, tens of thousands of people are still living in buildings with flammable cladding including here in Welwyn Hatfield.

“Labour will continue to press the Government to do the right thing and deliver on their promises. U-turning on a commitment that a fire like Grenfell can never happen again is simply disgraceful”

Only one council-owned building in Welwyn Hatfield, namely Queensway, has had cladding and fire safety issues, which the local Conservative council has taken action on.

Executive member for housing and community Cllr Nick Pace said: “Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy and during the subsequent public enquiry, the council has been proactive in working with industry experts, independent fire risk assessors and the Herts Fire and Rescue Service, to take a range of risk management measures.

“These measures have also taken into account information coming out of the Grenfell Tower enquiry, as and when they have been made public. These measures were taken by the council in advance of the publication of the Fire Safety Bill, July 2020.

“The Fire Safety Bill sets out how landlords should take actions to mitigate risks, including the removal of cladding which is deemed to be combustible, even where this cladding is not the of the type as that on Grenfell Tower.”

Mr Shapps was contacted for a comment but has not yet replied.

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