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Poplar fire and schools cladding: “government may well face another devastating loss of life”

Poplar fire and schools cladding: “government may well face another devastating loss of life”

Two pieces of news in one week have highlighted the scale of the fire safety crisis in UK buildings – a crisis which, it is thought, could be endangering millions of lives.

On Sunday the Guardian published analysis showing that more than 70 schools are likely to have been cladded in combustible plastic foam insulation, which is banned from use on residential buildings. Then, on Tuesday, the report into the New Providence Wharf fire, which took place in a building with ‘Grenfell-style’ cladding, described building failures as having led to a “potentially life-threatening situation”.

These two news stories are part of a wider crisis, with widespread fire safety issues having been uncovered in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. It’s become clear that 11 million people could be living in homes affected by dangerous cladding and other fire safety issues, according to the Labour Party.

Both stories will worry those who have followed this crisis. Schools had not previously been widely highlighted as having been affected by the crisis, and the fact that fires are continuing to happen in buildings with defective cladding underlines the ongoing danger many are living, working and meeting in.

Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU, said:        

“We already knew that buildings across the country are not safe enough for people to live in. Now, we’ve had that confirmed by a report into a recent fire, and we’ve found out that buildings children learn in are unsafe too.

As much as the government wishes, this crisis will not go away on its own: the government needs to act quickly, or it may well face another devastating loss of life. Once should have been enough, but for this government it is clearly not.”


For further comment or information please contact Ben Duncan-Duggal on 0208 481 1505, 07825 635224, or email

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