Mark Whitehead 14 June 2019

Grenfell Tower: Hundreds of high-rise buildings still have 'unsafe' cladding

There are still 'huge challenges ahead' two years after the Grenfell Tower fire, according to the leader of the council where the disaster took place.

Elizabeth Campbell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council in west London, spoke as firefighters warned of the risk of 'sleepwalking into another catastrophic loss of life'.

Seventy-two people died after flames engulfed the west London tower block in the early hours of 14 June 2017.

The anniversary comes amid reports that work is yet to start removing cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower at more than 200 high-rise buildings in England.

Campaigners projected messages on to tower blocks in Salford, Newcastle and London which they said were unsafe.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Government of making 'almost no progress' on removing the flammable cladding on 164 privately-owned tower blocks across the country.

He said: 'The owners of blocks that retain dangerous cladding must be named and shamed, and fines should be imposed on those who don’t act.

'If tower block landlords continue to endanger residents, the next Labour government will confiscate their buildings.'

The Fire Brigades Union said funding cuts had left them unable to prepare for similar fires in future.

'In the time since the fire, the government's facile approach has utterly failed all those involved that night and the thousands of people who are at risk across the country.

'After two years, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has delivered no answers and we are no closer to tackling any of the underlying causes of the tragedy.'

Cllr Campbell said: ' As we mark two years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, there are still huge challenges ahead for families, for the community and for the borough.

'We cannot turn back the clock, we cannot change the events of that night.

'But the council is putting what we have learned from it at the centre of everything we do. We continue to change and we continue to put residents first.

'Throughout the last two years, staff have never stopped caring and never stopped working and this will continue to be the case when every family is in their new home and starting to rebuild their lives.

'I want the families to know that my thoughts will be with them today, and I cannot stress enough how much I admire the dignity they have shown.'

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