NEWS

Theresa May Reveals 600 Other Towers Have Cladding Following Grenfell Fire

22/06/2017 7:11 PM AEST | Updated 23/06/2017 12:08 AM AEST

Theresa May has said tests on cladding on tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower fire have shown “a number” are “combustible”.

Downing Street said today councils in England estimate that 600 high-rise buildings have cladding.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday morning, the prime minister said “we can not and will not ask people to live in unsafe homes”.

Earlier this morning the chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council, Nicholas Holgate, quit after a barrage of criticism for its response to the tragedy in which at least 79 people were killed.

May said the exact type of cladding used on Grenfell Tower will be made public within 48 hours.

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons about the Grenfell Tower fire.

May said she was told about the test results shortly before her statement in the Commons at 9.30am this morning.

“The relevant local authorities and local fires services have been informed and as I speak they are taking all possible steps to ensure buildings are safe and to inform affected residents,” she told MPs.

“As a precaution the government has arranged to test cladding in all relevant tower blocks.”

May said MPs who had towers in their constituencies that were affected would be told “immediately” and that communities secretary, Sajid Javid, would give a further update later today.

“We can test over 100 buildings a day and the results come within hours,” the prime minister said.

“I urge any landlord who owns a building of this kind to send samples for testing as soon as possible. Any results will communicated immediately to local authorities and local fire services.

“Landlords have a legal obligation to provide safe buildings and where they can not do that, we expect alternative accommodation to be provided.”

Jeremy Corbyn described the Grenfell Tower tragedy as an “outrage” and said “every single one of those deaths could and should have been avoided”.

The Grenfell Tower Response Team has said 249 households are in emergency accommodation in hotels and £675,000 has been handed out to families affected by the disaster.

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