Correspondence

Grenfell Tower Inquiry terms of reference published

Sir Martin Moore-Bick's terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and Prime Minister Theresa May's response.

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Prime Minister Theresa May said:

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

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.

In addition to specifying the terms of reference, Sir Martin also identified broader questions on social housing policy, which after careful reflection he has concluded should not be within the scope of the Inquiry itself.

The Prime Minister respects the reasons set out by the Chair for not including these in the Inquiry’s terms of reference, but is also very clear that should not - and will not - mean the questions raised are left unanswered or are somehow seen as a lower priority.

As part of this work the government will now consider how best to address the social housing issues. The Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, will personally meet and hear from as many social housing tenants as possible, both in the immediate area around Grenfell Tower but also across the country to 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. There will be a further announcement on this work shortly.

Sir Martin consulted widely ahead of setting out his terms of reference, including with former residents of Grenfell Tower and the families of those who died. The consultation received more than 550 written responses and Sir Martin held meetings with local residents to discuss their views.

The Government is urging all those affected to participate in the inquiry so that they can gain as accurate a picture as possible and all lessons can be learned. To that end the Government has already announced a 12 month amnesty to allow those who have been directly affected by the fire to be granted a temporary period of lawful residence in the UK. This will also allow them to access ongoing support, including housing, that they may be eligible for.

The Prime Minister confirmed that 15 August would be the official start date of the inquiry. Sir Martin set out his intention to hold a preliminary hearing on 14 September with an initial report dealing with the cause of the fire and the means with which it spread to the whole building by Easter next year.

Published 15 August 2017