Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Government of failing to learn any lessons in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, despite the first anniversary of the disaster next week.
Mr Corbyn told the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) annual conference in Brighton: “People are still angry about the Government’s failure to act. Where is the necessary overhaul of fire safety regulations that is so clearly needed? Where is extra funding for the Fire and Rescue service? Where is the action on dangerous cladding on other buildings? After the Lakanal House fire the 2013 coroners’ report recommended sprinklers be installed in tower blocks; this government failed to act. But even now in the wake of 72 dead at Grenfell they still ignore the advice of the Fire Brigades Union.”
Of the firefighters who responded to the inferno, the Labour leader said: “Those men and women who went into that building to save lives are heroes as are all firefighters who regularly go above and beyond in order save lives.
“This is not to say that lessons cannot be learned from events at Grenfell as lessons can always be learned. But it is impossible to see how any improvements could ever be made without a consistent and genuine commitment to fire safety, fire prevention and a fully staffed fire service to be there when we need it.”
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome Mr Corbyn’s comments. He understands the issues and challenges facing firefighters and the fire and rescue service – a refreshing change for a politician on the national stage. Corbyn, like us, wants to see justice for the 72 people who died in Grenfell Tower, as well as the dozens who were injured and made homeless. He wants to ensure that a disaster like this never happens today. The government’s inaction a year on from Grenfell is deafening.”
The Labour leader received two standing ovations from delegates.