COLLECTIVE government failures regarding building regulations ‘over many years’ were partly to blame for the Grenfell Tower fire, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has said.
He said a new contract to be published today will tell developers who built unsafe buildings ‘to make them safe’.
‘We haven’t done right by the bereaved and the residents and the survivors from Grenfell,’ admitted Gove.
Gove will announce a six-week deadline for developers to sign a government contract to fix hundreds of unsafe towers around the country – or be banned from the market.
‘Those who haven’t will face consequences. They will not be able to build new homes,’ said Gove.
Touring the TV studios yesterday morning, Gove admitted: ‘There are people who have been effectively imprisoned in their own flats for too long.
‘As we know after Grenfell there were hundreds of buildings that were identified as having similar faults to Grenfell, not identical but similar.
‘We knew that all the people who were in those buildings, not only were they not safe but also, entirely understandably, they couldn’t move, because they couldn’t sell their flat, they couldn’t get a mortgage.
‘From an economic point of view the market was frozen but from a human point of view, far more importantly, people’s lives were completely disrupted. So I have and always will apologise to people for the fact that it has taken so long to sort.’
He went on: ‘There are a lot of us who have a responsibility to say that the system or regulation that was in place was ambiguous and it was exploited by people who were putting profit before lives.’
Gove said there was an ‘active willingness’ on the part of developers to endanger lives for profit.
The inquiry into the 2017 fire – in which 72 people died – has closed and is expected to report later this year.
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