Power to change premises to which the Fire Safety Order applies

Part of Fire Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 25 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Llafur, Hammersmith 2:45, 25 Mehefin 2020

Briefly, it is very important that there is the closest possible alignment between the Bill and what emerges from the Grenfell inquiry. We have had phase 1 of the inquiry, which dealt with what happened on the night. Phase 2 is coming, albeit not for some time. It relates to the wider issues of concern around building safety, and of course there is further legislation coming about building safety.

We heard evidence this morning from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Fire Brigades Union. Despite their very different perspectives and experiences, they were essentially saying the same thing: that Grenfell has exposed not just the really criminal action of putting highly combustible material on the outside of tower blocks, but the huge weaknesses and inadequacies in the system, causing us to look again at the whole way in which building safety works.

Just one example of that is the stay put policy. Most experts will say, “Well, the stay put policy is still in effect.” That may be literally true, in the sense that for most blocks that do not have combustible cladding and where compartmentalisation works, it may be the opinion of experts—whether they are from the fire service, are building experts, or others—that it is safer to stay in a flat than to leave it while the fire is contained within a single flat in a high-rise block, but try telling that to the occupants of that block post Grenfell.

The Leader of the House made comments about the evacuation of Grenfell Tower that were not just unhelpful but disrespectful; he asked whether people were right to stay in Grenfell Tower in that way. A senior Member of this House has raised doubts about whether it is sensible to stay. If a fire is known to be occurring, people will try to exit the tower block.

Any review of the stay put policy will look at the way that evacuation procedures, alarm systems and sprinkler systems worked. Recommendations coming out of the Grenfell inquiry should be reflected in the Bill. That is my only point.