Mark Whitehead 18 September 2017

Lib Dems call for safety to be ‘at forefront' of building regulations after Grenfell

Safety must be put at the forefront of new building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Liberal Democrats have demanded.

They say the social housing regulator must be given a stronger role, and fire safety and building regulations improved.

As it opened its annual conference in Bournemouth the party criticised what it says is the effective privatisation of building control which has led to a watering down of fire safety checks.

It says central Government should pay for improvements to tower blocks that will be needed across the UK once the review of building regulations is concluded.

Liberal Democrat local government spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said: 'The Government has many tough questions about why the current regulatory environment did not prevent a tower block from going up in flames in a matter of minutes.

'We need proper scrutiny of the Government's regulator for social housing, which has so far avoided being under the spotlight.

'The public inquiry will tell us about the failures in the particular case of Grenfell Tower, but will not deal with wider matters of public concern.

'The Government has presided over systemic failures in enforcing safety standards and a general neglect of social housing. It must not be let off scot-free.'

Liberal Democrat councillor for Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Linda Wade said: 'I have been working on the ground with residents who have been affected, many of whom have experienced trauma beyond anything we could imagine.

'It’s made me more determined than ever to do something to improve the way many of our fellow citizens are forced to live.

'The Government must reverse the decades of neglect of social housing and build the affordable, decent quality homes that we need.'

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