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Grenfell Tower inquiry announces terms of reference

Grenfell Tower inquiry announces terms of reference
3 min read

The Grenfell Tower public inquiry has published its terms of reference and officially begins work today. 


The investigation will look into the causes of the fire and the responses of local and central government but it will not deal with wider questions about social housing policy.

The Prime Minister has accepted in full the recommendations put forward by inquiry chair Martin Moore-Bick.

The formal start of the inquiry comes two months after the blaze ripped through the North Kensington tower block, resulting in the deaths of at least 80 people.

The investigation is scheduled to involve a preliminary hearing on 14 September of this year, with an initial report dealing with the cause of the fire and why it spread through the whole building by Easter next year.

The inquiry, to be led by the former Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin, will examine:

- The cause and spread of the fire.

- The design, construction and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

- The scope and adequacy of the relevant regulations relating to high-rise buildings.

- Whether the relevant legislation and guidance were complied with in the case of Grenfell Tower.

- The actions of the local authority and other bodies before the tragedy.

- The response of the London Fire Brigade to the fire and the response of central and local government in the aftermath.

The terms of reference were agreed after 550 written responses were received and considered.

Sir Martin, who faced calls to resign from local residents and some Labour MPs who saw him unsuited to lead the inquiry, urged as many people as possible to come forward to provide "valuable" information.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he recommended the granting of amnesties to potential illegal migrants who resided in the Tower.

The Government has issued a guarantee of 12 months lawful residency to anybody caught up in the blaze.

SOCIAL HOUSING 'NOT IN SCOPE'

Theresa May said that she would launch a separate investigation into social housing policy, after accepting Sir Martin’s preference not to include it in the Grenfell inquiry.

The judge cited the likelihood of delays to the final report and the possibility that it would raise questions of a political, social and economic nature that are “not suitable” for a judge-led inquiry as reasons for separating the two probes.

Instead Housing Minister Alok Sharma has been tasked to meet “as many social housing tenants as possible”, both in the immediate area around Grenfell and across the country.

That move, the Government says, will “help build up a comprehensive picture of some of the immediate issues facing tenants, as well as to identify any common concerns that must inform any national approach”.

Responding to Mr Moore-Bick’s recommendations, the Prime Minister insisted the broader questions would “not be left unanswered”.

“It is vital that there is justice for the victims of this appalling tragedy and for their families who have suffered so terribly," she said.

“The terms of reference set out by Sir Martin address crucial issues such as the cause of the fire and the adequacy of building and fire regulations which will allow the inquiry to get to the truth of what happened and learn the lessons to stop a similar catastrophe happening in the future.

“I am determined that the broader questions raised by this fire – including around social housing - are not left unanswered.

“We are taking action with the Housing Minister meeting social housing tenants to discuss the challenges they face and we will be setting out further proposals in due course.”

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