UK authorities come together in rallying call to government for sprinkler funding
Birmingham City Council is leading a campaign for the Government to fund the retro-fitting of life-saving sprinklers in thousands of high-rise tower blocks across the country
Cabinet Member for Homes & Neighbourhoods Cllr Sharon Thompson delivered a letter to Number 10 Downing Street making the case for emergency funding from government in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.
The letter, signed by the Deputy Mayor of London, eight Core Cities and other local authorities, calls on Government to fund the installation of sprinklers into all council and housing association-owned residential buildings above 18 metres.
In the two years since the Grenfell tragedy, the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, National Fire Chiefs Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Fire Brigades Union, the Association of British Insurers, the Fire Protection Association, London Fire Brigade and the Fire Sector Federation have all called for the retrofitting of sprinklers.
However, despite this growing support, the Government has so far made no funding available for the retrofitting of sprinklers.
Cllr Thompson said: “Following recommendations from both the Hackitt report and the government, authorities have gone back to their tenants to listen to their concerns. We can now say with surety that the number one issue is for them to simply feel safe in their own homes.”
“With this in mind, Birmingham has committed to spending over £54m in three years on fire safety in its 213 high-rise tower blocks. However, in a time of austerity, when local authorities across the country are and having budgets cut and are need to make some really tough financial choices, we need government to work with us and enable the recommendations put forward by experts to be implemented for the safety of citizens across the country.”
The letter asks government to fund the installation of sprinklers into all council and housing association-owned residential buildings above 18 metres. The latest request for funding follows the recommendation from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee in June last year.
Councillor Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said: “In Croydon we’ve nearly finished retrofitting sprinklers in over 1,250 high-rise homes costing £10m that we had already allocated for other services, so it’s time for the Government to stop ignoring councils’ pleas for help and put its money where its mouth is.”
Notes to editors
Joan Goodwin, chair of the City Housing Liaison Board for Birmingham was also in attendance at the delivery of the letter.
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council
Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods Birmingham City Council
Councillor Alison Butler - Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Homes & Gateway Services, Croydon Council
Dr Fiona Twycross AM - Deputy Mayor for Fire and Resilience, Greater London Authority
Councillor Judith Blake CBE - Leader of Leeds City Council
Councillor Nick Forbes - Leader of Newcastle City Council
Councillor Joyce McCarty - Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Housing Newcastle City Council
Councillor Paul Smith - Cabinet Member for Housing, Bristol City Council
Councillor Linda Woodings - Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Heritage, Nottingham City Council
Councillor Jon Collins – Leader - Nottingham City Council
Councillor Jim Steinke - Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, Sheffield City Council
Councillor Joe Anderson, OBE - Mayor of Liverpool City Council
Councillor Suzanne Richards - Executive Member for Housing & Regeneration, Manchester City Council
Councillor Tony Dicicco - Cabinet Member - Environment & Housing, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Peter Bilson - Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, City of Wolverhampton Council
Councillor Qadar Zada - Leader of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Keiran Casey - Cabinet Member for Housing, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Ed Ruane - Cabinet Member for Housing & Communities, Coventry City Council
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael - Cabinet Member for Housing, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council