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Government must act to prevent another Grenfell, say victims’ families


 The Government must take urgent action to prevent a repeat of the Grenfell catastrophe, survivors demanded today as the first official report into the tragedy said more lives could have been saved  The report, which followed phase one of the inquiry into the fire, said the building’s cladding was the “principal reason” the flames spread so fiercely  Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick also found the tower did not meet building regulations  Describing the lack of an evacuation plan as a “major omission” Sir martin said the Government should develop national guidelines for getting high-rise residents to safety in the event of a fire  He also joined calls for the “slow rate” of lethal cladding removal to be sped up at tower blocks nationwide    And he criticised the London Fire Brigade over its handling of the June 2017 blaze, which killed 72 people, saying more could have survived if it had abandoned its “stay-put” policy sooner and told residents to flee  Grenfell United, which includes survivors and bereaved relatives, said: “It is heartbreaking to read more of our loved ones could have been saved ”  It also called for those responsible for “turning our homes into a death trap” to be prosecuted  Yvette Williams from fellow campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said firefighters had been unfairly targeted and the inquiry should have focused on the “real villains” first  She said: “Look at issues such as inequalities, privatisation and deregulation, and the way authorities treated this community    “Government has a part to play. Look at their inaction after the 2009 Lakanal House fire [which killed six people in Camberwell, South London]  “Recommendations made after that were not put in place. If they were, Grenfell might not have happened  “The inquiry has been conducted in the wrong order. It’s given the real villains extra time to prepare ”  Natasha Elcock, of Grenfell United, called the fire “the worst night of my life” saying “we must expose the truth to make sure it never happens again”  After being told to ‘stay put’ she saved her own and her daughter’s lives by flooding their 11th-floor flat  Ms Elcock said: “I will never forget waiting for hours with my daughter to be rescued I was one of the lucky ones. I made it out. Many did not.”  Welcoming the finding the tower broke building regulations she called for phase two of the inquiry, which starts in January, to target those responsible  She said: “This turns the spotlight on to the council, the tenant management company and the corporates involved in the refurbishment that turned our homes into a death traps  “The inquiry must fearlessly go after the people at these organisations who bear responsibility ”  Behailu Kebede, whose fridge-freezer started the fire, was completely exonerated of blame in the report  Phase two will analyse factors which led to the blaze and made it so deadly.  It will also investigate claims the council ignored warnings about fire hazards from residents  Locals gathered to yesterday to watch a Commons debate on the report in the Bay 20 community centre, in the shadow of the tower   They clapped when Boris Johnson was blasted over huge cuts he made to fire services as mayor of London, and when Labour’s David Lammy referred to the disaster as “corporate manslaughter”  The Prime Minister insisted “the truth will out and justice will be done”.  But Judy Bolton, from Justice4Grenfell, who lost three friends said she doubted “his sincerity, his integrity and his responsibility to this community ”  She added: “There were recommendations after Lakanal House, and they weren’t implemented, so we’re concerned the same will happen ”   Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a “preventable fire” and that there needed to be a “political response and a procedural response” to ensure justice  LFB commissioner Dany Cotton insisted her colleagues had faced “impossible conditions” at Grenfell  She said she was “disappointed” at criticism of individual staff who were “in unprecedented circumstances”

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