The government may have deliberately concealed the dangers posed by the type of combustible materials responsible for the Grenfell Tower tragedy, according to lawyers representing the victims and survivors of the fire.
Michael Mansfield QC told the public inquiry that successive governments may have allowed private companies to exploit building regulations in ‘one of the greatest scandals of our time’. He accused officials of colluding with the construction industry and failing to act over warnings from previous fires, including Lakanal House in south London, where six people died in 2009.
The inquiry heard that the government’s approach to encouraging greater use of insulation materials was driven by a desire to reduce carbon emissions and ‘an unbridled passion for deregulation’.
Meanwhile, survivors of the disaster have urged the Metropolitan Police to start legal proceedings against those it believes are responsible for the fire before the end of the public inquiry.
Grenfell United said prosecutors should start work immediately on deciding whether charges could be brought against companies and individuals.
The police confirmed they were investigating up to 36 companies involved in the refurbishment of the tower block and had carried out several interviews under caution for gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, fraud, and health and safety offences. However, it said it would only send files to the Crown Prosecution Service after the end of the inquiry.