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13th of July 2017

Last night saw a vigil held at Grenfell Tower to mark four weeks since those dreadful events affected so many lives and families.

My fellow cities have already expressed their sympathies to those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and paid tribute to the emergency services and the local community who continue to respond in a truly magnificent way.

The concerns of city leadership are first and foremost to ensure the ongoing safety of our residents and to reassure them of their safety, not creating unnecessary concern or alarm. This includes making sure that all required fire suppression measures are taken in all relevant properties, including fitting sprinklers in older and new buildings where necessary, to add further protection.

But we need the Government to commit now to make sure any additional measures are properly funded and resourced.

And there must also be a thorough investigation of the causes of this disaster. The facts must be laid out before the public and the Government must act swiftly on the recommendations of any inquiry.

Every person in every place has an equal right to feel - and to actually be - safe in their home, regardless of their income. Our response as a country to this tragedy must therefore to bring an end to low quality housing, to poorly regulated development, to underinvestment and to cutting corners.

The UK Government must now:

  • Pledge immediate financial support for the urgent measures we believe are needed to keep our citizens safe.
  • Create a national fund to deliver and maintain fire suppression measures in the medium term and to implement any recommendations of the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster, allowing that inquiry to have full scope to investigate all contributing factors.
  • Review related regulations and permissive development rights, with local authorities gaining the necessary powers to enforce safety. For example, signing off all inspections.

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities UK, Leader of Leeds City Council.