Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
January 16, 2018

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Fire safety

Government yet to approve any financial requests for post-Grenfell safety work

The government has not approved any requests from councils for extra financial help to fund safety improvements, six months after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, according to senior civil servants.

Speaking yesterday in front of a parliamentary select committee, the director general of building safety at the ministry of housing, communities and local government, Tamara Finkelstein, admitted it has received inquiries from 36 councils about financial help, but so far none have been approved.

Finkelstein said of the 36 inquiries, nine were from councils who had buildings with the aluminium cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

Additional information

Ten of the 36 councils have been asked to supply extra information and Finkelstein added four of these councils have now given the department additional information they require.

She told MPs “conversations are progressing” with these local authorities, and “it is not preventing essential work from happening”.

“The secretary of state was absolutely clear that we would not see anybody in that position, where they are not able,” she told the communities and local government committee.

“If they are doing essential work to make a building safe, we will give them the borrowing headroom or the flexibility they need, so they do have that confidence.”

Croydon case

Last week, SHP reported that the deputy leader of Croydon Council has demanded a face-to-face meeting with the-then housing minister, Alok Sharma, (since replaced by Dominic Raab) over an “unprecedented funding gap” to improve tower block fire safety.

The London borough’s cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, Alison Butler wrote to Mr Sharma, calling for a meeting to discuss the “long-term finance of burden” of implementing a £10 million sprinkler programme without help from central government.

The department’s director general of local government and public services, Jo Farrar, also appeared at the committee and gave an update on work to rehouse families who lost their homes in the tragedy.

100 families in emergency accommodation

Dr Farrar said the latest figures show 147 of the 208 households made homeless have accepted an offer of either interim of permanent accommodation.

Around 108 households have now moved into their new homes, which means around 100 families are still in emergency accommodation.

“The Grenfell Tower fire has already had a very significant effect on the department’s work,” commented the department’s permanent secretary, Melanie Dawes at the committee meeting.

“When the fire took place in June, many of my colleagues across the department responded with fantastic professionalism and commitment, for example moving across to Kensington and Chelsea to help them with their rehousing and we also had help from across the civil service to mobilise the building and safety programme.

“But it’s also clearly going to be with us for a number of years as we think about the wider building and safety issues, as we work with the council, and indeed as we think about social housing through new eyes,” she commented.

Fire Safety in 2023 eBook

SHP's sister site, IFSEC Insider has released its annual Fire Safety Report for 2023, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry.

Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments