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THOSE responsible for the Grenfell Tower fire are “getting off scot-free” nearly five years on from the disaster, the Fire Brigades Union’s Matt Wrack warned today.
The general secretary urged delegates gathered in Brighton for the union’s annual conference to “fight with every ounce of strength” to ensure those culpable face justice.
He reiterated his criticisms of the “back-to-front” inquiry into the blaze, which killed 72 people in a west London tower block on June 14 2017.
Rather than beginning with the night of the fire itself, the ongoing probe, which opened in September 2017, should have first examined the actions of politicians whose deregulation agenda allowed the building to be covered in flammable cladding, Mr Wrack said.
A narrow focus on the London Fire Brigade and not on austerity-hit services nationwide is also part of an attempt to scapegoat firefighters in the capital, he said.
He told members in the Grand Hotel: “The culprits who sold and manufactured flammable cladding get off scot-free; the construction firms and the architects who installed it get off scot-free; the landlords who profit from these situations get off scot-free.
“And the politicians who took the decisions that allowed this horrendous situation to arise get off scot-free.”
Mr Wrack contrasted the testimony given by FBU members to the inquiry with the “callous indifference of ministers and former ministers, who feigned ignorance and blustered.
“Still no appearance by Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, who imposed the largest cut in London Fire Brigade history.
“A man who has made his career messing things up, ruining people’s lives and then running away from responsibility.”
Mr Wrack urged the union to renew its commitment to a “publicly owned, publicly accountable fire and rescue service.”
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