Council to go under microscope in Grenfell inquiry

The government has confirmed the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire will begin today.

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The government has announced it will start the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

It will include looking into the actions of Kensington and Chelsea Council, which has been under scrutiny since the fire, with many calling for independent advisers to take over.

The judge leading the inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, recently sent a letter to Theresa May to set out what he wanted from the process.

In her response, she has accepted his recommendations in full.

She stated: “I am happy to accept your recommendations for the Inquiry’s terms of reference without any amendment, and to announce an immediate start date of today, 15 August 2017.”

The inquiry will not look at the ‘broader social issues’ as the PM puts it in her response.

As part of the response, Theresa May has said housing minister, Alok Sharma, will “personally meet and hear from as many social housing tenants as possible both in the immediate area around Grenfell Tower, but also across the country, to help build up a comprehensive picture of some of the immediate issues facing tenants.”

The government has been under fire from residents, opposition politicians and other groups for its failure to rehouse the victims of the fire.

Shadow secretary of state for housing, John Healey, tweeted: “Deeply unsatisfactory for PM to set Grenfell Inquiry terms of ref to exclude housing policy failings – closing off criticism of govt policy.”

Liberal Democrat local government spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse MP, commented: “This inquiry must fully consult the survivors of this terrible tragedy and get to the bottom of why their concerns were not acted upon.

“The voices of Grenfell residents were tragically ignored once, they must not be ignored again.

“We must also address the underlying causes, including the chronic neglect of social housing in this country.

“The failure to use this inquiry to examine these broader issues is a shameful wasted opportunity.”

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said in response: “We recognise the importance of this inquiry in answering many of the crucial questions that have arisen since the Grenfell fire.

“The National Housing Federation engaged with the consultation process and called for the inquiry to conduct a thorough review of current regulations on housebuilding and fire safety – we are glad to see this reflected in the terms of reference.

“We have offered the full support of the federation and social housing sector to the public inquiry.

“We hope it will issue robust recommendations to restore trust in regulatory procedures so that housing providers can ensure residents are safe in their homes.”

For more on the Grenfell Tower fire, and the subsequent fall out from it, see our collection of related stories here.

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