The scope of the housing safety scandal continues to mount as more cladding is found to fall short of fire safety requirements
The government has revealed a number of tower blocks are at risk after cladding failed fire safety tests.
Following the Grenfell tower blaze, which saw an indeterminate number of people killed, urgent checks of similar cladding on high-rise buildings were carried out. The government admitted yesterday that 34 other blocks across 17 different parts of the country had failed safety tests. This figure is thought to have risen to 60 high-rise buildings across 25 local authority areas.
The scope of this scandal has hit other major cities outside the capital, including Manchester and Plymouth. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid admitted that every single piece of cladding sent for testing so far has failed to meet standards.
The danger to residents living in some of these buildings has been deemed so great councils have ordered evacuations. In London, thousands of residents had to leave their homes after concerns were raised.
Cladding fails safety tests
The cladding on Grenfell tower has been the central point of the investigation into the blaze. It is suspected this was behind the fire spreading so rapidly and killing at least 79 people. With similar cladding on other tower blocks also failing, it is undoubtedly a major concern.
In a statement, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “This is now a nationwide threat and the Prime Minister needs to get a grip and lead a national response, including convening the Cobra committee to coordinate Government and public action.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised for her response to the Grenfell tower catastrophe, particularly for the handling of residents caught up in the ordeal and later those affected by the substandard cladding.
She gave assurances “immediate action” would be taken by councils in areas were tower blocks failed safety tests. She added that “our first priority is people’s safety”.
Housing Minister Alok Sharma faced tough questions on ITV’s Good Morning Britain over the cladding. He was asked if the material used was banned or illegal.
Presenter Susanna Reid asked Sharma if the cladding used on Grenfell would be used on a tower block being built today. He responded: “The building regulations are very clear. Any building above 18 metres, this would be non-compliant.”
However, when Reid asked if this meant the material was illegal, he said: “Well, you are not allowed to do it, it is non-compliant.
“The regulations are very clear on this point, and clearly the public inquiry has been set up to investigate precisely what happened and we will get to the bottom of this.”