TOMORROW marks the first anniversary of the Grenfell fire.
To what extent those deaths were preventable is for the various inquiries to determine but it is a fact that sprinklers were not fitted in the 24-storey block during its £9.6m renovation. In the aftermath of the disaster - which is currently the subject an inquiry - a report by a committee which investigated fire safety in its wake said sprinklers almost completely eliminate fire deaths in buildings where they are installed.
Leeds City Council has no buildings which carry the same fire risk as Grenfell but nonetheless has reviewed fire safety, especially in its high-rise blocks.
It has asked for help to pay the £32m it would cost to make improvements including fitting sprinklers, but has now been told it will get nothing as the works are deemed “non-essential.”
How can they say this when two days after the disaster, then Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid claimed that the Government would “do whatever it takes” to improve measures in tower blocks?
Hand-wringing by ministers will pay for nothing.
It is a disgrace that Leeds City Council will now have to find that money out of its own budget, which will mean other projects won’t be funded.