Grenfell Tower inquiry: Government apologises to victims

By Tom Symonds
Home Affairs correspondent

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Some 72 people died in the west London tower block fire

The government has admitted a series of failings in the years leading up to the Grenfell Tower disaster and apologised to victims of the fire.

Its barrister told the Grenfell Tower public inquiry it was "deeply sorry for its past failures" in overseeing building safety.

Jason Beer QC said local inspectors were responsible for the safety of individual buildings but the government "deeply regrets past failures".

Some 72 people died in the 2017 fire.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities barrister said: "It apologises to the bereaved, residents and survivors of the fire for such failures."

"This can of course neither change what happened nor compensate them for the immeasurable loss and grief suffered.

"The department believes that it must examine its own conduct and candidly accept mistakes, errors and omissions when the inquiry identifies them," he added.

On Monday, a lawyer representing victims of the June 2017 disaster, described it as one of the "major scandals of our time".

The government has proposed a Building Safety Bill with measures to introduce a new building safety regulator.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry

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It was created to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower on the night of 14 June 2017.

Phase 2 is examining the causes of these events, including how Grenfell Tower came to be in a condition which allowed the fire to spread in the way identified by Phase 1.

This effectively reverses past conservative policy to deregulate the construction of buildings.

A key role of the regulator is to ensure the safety of buildings taller than 18m (59ft).

It will also regulate construction products and carry out "surveillance" on the market to ensure standards are met.

The government banned the use of combustible materials after the tower block fire in west London.

A £5bn building safety fund has been set up in an attempt to ensure residents aren't left financially destitute due to the costs of removing flammable cladding and other dangerous materials.

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