The leader of the Kensington and Chelsea Council says it will fully cooperate in the Grenfell Tower public inquiry after the terms of reference announcement .
Prime Minister Theresa May said part of the inquiry into the disaster, which claimed the lives of at least 80 people , will examine the actions of the local authority before and after the fire, and the renovation of the building which included cladding which helped the rapid spread of flames.
Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coad was angry that the inquiry would not take into account wider social issues and called it “a complete betrayal of everything we were promised”.
Justice 4 Grenfell described it as “a start” and the borough’s Labour group leader Robert Atkinson said the terms of reference included “some very good things”.
The public inquiry, headed by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, will examine:
- The cause and spread of the fire.
- The design, construction and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.
- The scope and adequacy of the relevant regulations relating to high-rise buildings.
- Whether the relevant legislation and guidance were complied with in the case of Grenfell Tower.
- The actions of the local authority and other bodies before the tragedy.
- The response of the London Fire Brigade to the fire and the response of central and local government in the aftermath.
Broader social questions provoked by the fire, which left at least 80 dead, will not form part of the inquiry but Theresa May was “determined” they would not be left “unanswered”.
Council leader Elizabeth Campbell, who took charge after Nick Paget-Brown stepped down over his handling of the tragedy, said: “We are fully cooperating with the inquiry and we will make any person or document available to the authorities, as required.
“I echo the wishes of the local community – we must find out what went wrong and make sure it never happens again, not only in this borough, but anywhere in the UK.”
Cllr Atkinson was encouraged that actions before the fire would be looked at.
He said: “There’s some very good things in this.
“I never expected the judge to comment of the wider implication of social housing.
"However, I welcome the Prime Minister saying it would be looked at under a different heading.
“I think this should happen parallel to the inquiry.”
Moyra Samuels, a Justice 4 Grenfell campaign coordinator, also looked at the positives.
She said: “It’s a start and its an indication some of the voices of the community and their concerns have been listened too in both the meetings and submissions that have been made.
“It sends a message to the community that actually they shouldn’t remain silent.
"It’s important that their voices are heard.”
But she said concerns remained, and reiterated calls for a community advisor to sit with Sir Martin and his team.
She said: “Theres a strong feeling that the panel doesn’t represent the community.
“They’re mainly white and middle class. The panel doesn’t represent the world that we come from.
“Community advisors could tell the panel why concerns are important to the community.”
Ms Dent Coad, the MP for the area, said: “This announcement is precisely what we feared.
“We were told ‘no stone would be unturned’ but instead are being presented with a technical assessment which will not get to the heart of the problem: what effects if any the lack of investment into social housing had on the refurbishment project.”
She went on to say it was “hugely disappointing” to have the terms of reference published in August, saying “many concerned parties are away and unable to respond”.
She added: “The closing date for response was 4 August, yet somehow Moore-Bick personally managed to consider the detail of all 550 written responses within a short week, producing Terms of Reference which were then agreed by Theresa May over a weekend.
“How can the community possibly have faith in an Inquiry with Terms of Reference so hastily determined by the Prime Minister and her government?
“It is a complete betrayal of everything we were promised. Clearly, the government are running scared.”
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