Date:26 September (Eddy Hunt to Chris Bryant, MP)

Dear Chris

Much thanks for forwarding the Housing Minister, Alok Sharma's response (6 Sept) to my email re. fire safety in tower blocks. However ..

Strip away the fine words and what I see is a clear commitment to do nothing - at least in the short term.  I have provided suggestions for an "immediate action list".  Mr Sharma has found no fault with any part of it.  He has not offered an action list of his own.  Oddly after calling for public responses he completely ignores what he receives.

This is no personal complaint.  Judging by the media I am simply one person amongst many who has expressed concern about tower block fire safety - and been ignored.

When something as simple as closing a window could make the difference between a small local fire and an inferno with numerous fatalities, where is the morality in doing nothing?

Mr Sharma appears to find safety in paperwork - referring to 2005 regulation - presumably unaffected by the 2009 Lakanal House fire and further unaffected by the recent Grenfell fire.  It refers to "help" to "responsible persons" to carry out an "assessment risk".  Can he cite specifics re. the dangers of flats which are above the level which can be reached by fire appliances?  This looks to me like Government passing the burden of responsibility downward as far as possible.  Devising a safety strategy for the many tower blocks across Britain is beyond the capacity (and authority) of any individual.

One feature of both tower fire disasters is that people died precisely because they followed advice to stay in their flats.

Mr Sharma refers to tests conducted on the cladding materials.  Unless tests simulate the "chimney effect" of the gap between the cladding and the wall, then they will overlook a serious source of danger.

My reading of the communication as a whole is one of an invitation to enter a false sense of security - this is something which is absolutely poisonous to a culture of safety.

I think we should spare a thought for those who tonight will be going to their upper floor flat for over the 100th time since Grenfell wondering whether tonight will be their turn to wake up surrounded by flames cutting off their escape route.  They may believe (quite justifiably considering Mr. Sharma's letter) that the chance of that happening to them is about the same as it was for the residents of Grenfell on the night of 14 June.

I think I would have a hard time getting a decent night's sleep under the circumstances.  Would you?

best wishes

Eddy Hunt