At least 120 UK tower blocks failing fire safety

Two weeks after Grenfell disaster, Theresa May says 120 tower blocks 'failing fire safety'
2 min read
29 Jun, 2017
Blog: Nearly 17,000 care homes and hospitals are undergoing checks.
The tragedy has led to mass public anger and fear [Getty]

During an impassioned debate on Wednesday, British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn brought forth a series of in-depth questions concerning numbers and forensic evidence in regards to the Grenfell tower fire.

He was answered with the revelation by Theresa May, the prime minister and Conservative party leader, that the cladding of the Grenfell tower block had not complied with building regulations.

The prime minister attempted to answer most of Corbyn's questions by saying the problem was not the regulations; but the appliance of these regulations.

"I think he's somewhat missed part of the point to this, which is that it's not just a question of what laws you have. It's how those are being applied," May told a packed House of Commons. "That is the issue. We have the building regulations about compliant materials. The question is: why is it that, despite that, we have seen - in local authority area after local authority area - materials being put up that appear not to comply with those building regulations?"

Corbyn saw an advantage in May's defence and went on the attack over the crippling politics of austerity championed by her government:

"I think I can help the prime minister with this issue. When you cut local authority expenditure by 40 percent, you end up with fewer building control inspectors."

Corbyn continued to stress the fact that austerity cuts resulted in the downfall of the public sector.

"There are 11,000 less firefighters," Corbyn went on, describing the situation as "a disastrous effect of austerity".

Residents of tower blocks around the UK remain fearful for their lives as concerns pervade over the building material used in the construction of their housing blocks. Thousands evacuated from tower block estates in Camden fear a similar catastrophe.

The buildings there were found to have similar aluminium composite cladding material as the Grenfell tower.

Camden Council told the residents to leave the building due to urgent fire safety precautions, although the estates had apparently undergone fire risk assessments in early 2016.

Hospitals and student accommodation are also thought to be at risk. Nottingham University began an immediate assessment of the blocks of its Byron House accommodation. Although the buildings have fireproof insulation and water sprinklers, the university's concern was regarding the cladding of the buildings.

Fire chiefs also identified 38 hospitals as having similar cladding, with nine of them being at high risk of a similar fire to the catastrophe which killed at least 80 people in West London.

Nearly 17,000 care homes and hospitals are now undergoing risk assessments due to an order from the NHS.