Wrack slams right-wing policies which ‘led to tower murders’
FIRE Brigades’ Union (FBU) leader Matt Wrack came close to tears yesterday as he blamed three decades of government policies for the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower.
An emotional Mr Wrack paid tribute at the Durham Miners’ Gala to the brave firefighters who ran into the towering inferno as residents of the west London block were scrambling to get out.
“That night they did, deliberately and consciously, risk their lives to save those of others,” Mr Wrack said.
“In those circumstances firefighters simply could not apply the normal practices and procedures,” he added, describing how rescue workers re-entered the building repeatedly against safety regulations.
He said it was a “miracle” that large numbers of his union’s ranks had not perished.
And he argued that a catalogue of government policies, from the underfunding and denigration of social housing to anti-health and safety rhetoric and cuts to fire inspections were to blame.
“This was no act of God,” he added.
“No higher power ordained this could or should happen.
“This is a country that can send remote-controlled guided missiles [in foreign wars] but we can’t keep people safe in their own homes.”
Prison Officers’ Association leader Steve Gillan stormed: “Health and safety isn’t the red tape the media and the Tories would have us believe. Health and safety saves lives.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to the emergency service workers who dealt with the disaster.
He condemned the “crocodile tears” of Conservative MPs who praised workers before declining to lift the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap that suppresses wages in real terms.
Mr Corbyn continued: “A Labour government will invest not in luxury homes in the London suburbs. We’ll invest in good-quality housing for those who need it.”
At least 80 Grenfell residents have been confirmed dead so far, with hundreds still unaccounted for or left homeless.
The spread of the fire that was sparked by an appliance at around 1am on June 14 was exacerbated by the combustible panels and cladding on the exterior of the newly refurbished tower owned by Kensington and Chelsea council.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Kensington council, a Tory council, Britain’s richest, is a symbol of all that’s rotten in Tory Britain.”
And he said residents who died in the Grenfell blaze were “murdered,” echoing comments by shadow chancellor John McDonnell. email@example.com