The Fire Safety Bill will clarify the responsible person or duty holder for residential buildings must ensure fire risk is managed and reduced for certain parts of the building. These include cladding, balconies, windows and entrance doors to individual flats opening into common areas. This will provide fire and rescue services with the power to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account, further supporting residents. The Government have repeatedly stated the important of this legislation in enabling them to implement the Phase 1 of the recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry.
This Bill, which was voted on Monday night, will put in place enhanced regulations for building safety and ensure residents have a greater say in safety regimes, allowing the recommendations of the 1st phase of the Grenfell Inquiry to be put into place. It will also go hand in hand with the Fire Safety Order consultation, which concludes on October 12th, as well as the draft Building Safety Bill. This is simply a matter of legislative sequencing in order for it be properly implemented.
This was made clear by the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, the Minister of State for Security, who outlined how Labour’s proposals would “not hasten any more than what the Government is intending and proposing” – this Bill already provides the framework for changes to be introduced. He went on to explain how “together, the Fire Safety Bill, the draft Building Safety Bill and the fire safety consultation will create fundamental improvements to building safety standards and ensure residents are safe and feel safe in their homes.” It should also be noted Mims will be one of the ministers involved in the drafting of the Building Safety Bill and delivering it through her responsibilities to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Government has already committed £1.6 billion in funds for cladding removal, with both Government Ministers and Conservative MPs emphasising the need for this key legislation to be implemented as swiftly as possible.
Mims Davies reacts to reports on Monday’s vote on the Fire Safety Bill and its Second Reading
“Opposition MPs have sadly brought up unwarranted concerns and attempted to take advantage of the Grenfell tragedy in attempting to amend this Bill, which would have not only have undermined the work to implement the 1st phase of the recommendations, but would have also delayed implementation by cutting across current consultations taking place. The Government has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to implementing the Inquiry’s report as efficiently as possible, which is reflected in this Bill. The proposed amendment in question would have resulted in a delay, further regulations which could only come into effect once the Bill becomes law and risked creating a legal challenge, potentially resulting in the need for an entirely new consultation, which again would have even further delayed the process. I have often explained to constituents how frustrating it is for Conservative MP’s to see these tactics continuously being implemented.
Tabling poorly thought out amendments, which clearly hinder and undermine the process of a Bill as important as this, is a standard opposition parliamentary tactic. It’s playing politics, pure and simple. Despite what multiple opposition MPs have repetitively tried to say and it is unfortunate those in opposition are attempting to politicise the Grenfell tragedy.”
The Bill received an unopposed third reading and will undergo further scrutiny in the House of Lords at a later date.