The Grenfell Tower fire is one of the most horrific and tragic events of our age. Our first priority must be to ensure that those people affected by the fire are given the support that they need now and in the years ahead. It will be important that people affected by the fire can access mental and physical healthcare immediately as well as counselling support for as long as it is required by each individual. Our approach to this issue should centre on rebuilding this shattered community.
I am pleased that the Conservative Government has now committed to some help for this community. My Labour colleagues and I will be monitoring progress closely in the period ahead to ensure that all those people who have lost everything in this tragedy are not let down again.
I welcome the fact that the Queen's Speech on 21 June confirmed there will be a public inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower. It also included a commitment to publish interim findings. However, there is still significantly more that must be done. I believe that the initial findings of the inquiry must be published to allow action to begin on any emerging recommendations as swiftly as possible.
Locally, I have been in contact with representatives of Salford City Council and City West Housing Trust about fire safety measures in high rise blocks in Salford. I have been assured that this issue is being dealt with as a priority in Salford and Greater Manchester and I will be keeping up to date with any developments.
The Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has set up a task force to review fire safety residential tower blocks across Greater Manchester. Andy Burnham has asked Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, to lead the taskforce which is liaising with the fire service, councils and landlords. City Mayor, Paul Dennett, tells me that the advice he has received from the Department of Communities and Local Government on issues of fire safety and cladding has been confused. Paul Dennett has asked Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, to clarify the advice given to councils and to clarify what funding the Conservative Government will make available to councils like Salford.
I agree with Paul Dennett’s comments that residents have the right to be reassured about the safety of where they live. I will continue to work with Andy Burnham, Paul Dennett and housing providers on tackling this issue.