The forgotten context of Grenfell fire

The above front page of the Telegraph on the 29th of October not only broke the embargo for the first part of the Grenfell Inquiry but also had a photo of the man who has a lot of explaining to do with the Fire Service in London since 2008. The PM Boris Johnson had closed 10 Fire Stations, cut 30 Fire Engines and 500 Firefighters. A £ 100 m cut in central government funding which he supported and the forced austerity on London’s emergency services is something the PM undertook as Mayor of London. Yet he is not to blame and the London Fire Brigade cut to ribbons.

Prior to Grenfell Tower fire, Boris Johnson & his chair of London Fire Brigade James Cleverly MP and chair of the Tory Party now during the two terms; 

  • Closed 10 London Fire Stations
  • Cut 27 London Fire Engines
  • Slashed 500+ London Firefighters

They unilaterally ignoring LFEPA (London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority) & against wishes of 94% of Londoners who did not want to see the cuts. When challenged at the London Assembly by Assembly members, Johnson said “get stuffed”

Furthermore, the previous PM’s, Theresa May’s chief of staff, Garvin Barwell, did not act on multiple warnings about fire safety in months before Grenfell, new letters show from investigations by Inside Housing.  He was sent multiple, clear warnings to review fire safety rules in the months leading up to Grenfell, but failed to reply to letters or meet with the MPs raising concerns, in documents obtained by Inside Housing reveal.

At the same time no-one in authority seems to have looked at Lakenhall House (6 died in 2009 when fire spread through a tower block) and prepared for that to happen again. As it did at Grenfell Tower.

These are the immediate things that come to my mind as a ex-member of LFEPA and as an Assembly Member(AM) during the whole of the Boris Johnson administration of City Hall.