I have received a response from the Scottish Government following my recent letter regarding fire safety in multi-storey residential buildings in Glasgow North, and across Scotland. You can see the response in full below, however I would like to give you a brief summary and update here. The Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, informs me that the Scottish Government fully understands the anxieties of multi-storey residents and he hopes the information he provides goes some way towards alleviating these worries.
The Scottish Government took immediate action following the Grenfell fire, and raised initial concerns with local authorities on Thursday 15th of June. This was followed by a letter seeking more detailed information about housing stock in their area. The letter asked whether any remedial works had been carried out in those buildings, and if so, the materials and construction techniques used.
So far they have received assurances from all 32 local authorities, that domestic properties over 18 meters high have not used the same type of building material used in Grenfell tower – Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). They are continuing to seek assurances regarding private properties, and 29 local authorities have reported, so far, that no private properites use ACM cladding.
Following the tragedy the Scottish Government set up a Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety, which will examine building and fire safety regulatory frameworks in Scotland, and make recommendations for improvement as needed. Initial priority focus will be on high-rise domestic properties, then on other priority areas including schools and hospitals.
The Group met for the second time on the 28th of June, and the meeting was chaired by Communities Secretary Angela Constance with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart and Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing. They were joined by Scottish Government officials and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who provided a briefing on their work and said an additional 300 operational assurance visits have been carried out since the Grenfell Tower fire, and 230 additional home fire safety visits to residents in high-rise buildings. More information about what was discussed at the Ministerial Working Group's meeting, can be found here.
You may be interested to know that my colleague Bob Doris MSP for Maryhill and Springburn, is the Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee who will also be reviewing building safety standards. They have announced that as part of this review the committee will speak to local authorities, landlords, tenants and of course the Scottish Government. You can find out more information about the work of the Committee here.
In Westminster, along with my SNP colleagues, we will be continuing to push the government on providing support to those affected, and in ensuring that the inquiry listens to all appropriate stakeholders and experts in order to fully understand what went wrong in London.
In tribute to the incredible bravery of the firefighters who tackled the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, I have also signed and supported an Early Day Motion (EDM 8) on the Bravery and Role of Firefighters. This EDM recognises that the fire services have faced a significant cut in living standards over recent years, and calls on the Government to reverse all cuts to funding to the fire and rescue services. You can see the full text of the EDM here.
Along with my colleague Joanna Chery MP, I spoke in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry debate on the 12th of July, and drew attention to the importance of providing assurances to residents in Glasgow North, particularly those in multi-storey high rise buildings. You can see the transcript of my full contribution here.
It is crucial that as much support, reassurance and certainty as possible is provided to concerned residents in Glasgow North, and please be assured that I will continue to monitor the situation and will post further updates on my website, when I receive more information.
My previous website post outlining Glasgow City Council respone can be found here: https://www.patrickgrady.scot/110-update-on-fire-safety-glasgow-north-response-from-gcc The first, and most comprehensive, update on fire safety with a summary of all Housing Association's current fire safety measures can be found here: https://www.patrickgrady.scot/106-fire-safety-multi-story-buildings
Remember that anyone can request a Home Fire Safety visit from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who can also fit free smoke alarms if required. To organise a visit call 0800 0731 999 or text "FIRE" to 80800 from your mobile phone. You can find more information online here.