Labour tried to get tower block sprinkler funding into London budget. Boris and Tories voted it down

17 June 2017

Labour members on the London Assembly tried to secure funding for tower block sprinklers back in 2013 – but then-mayor Boris Johnson refused, documents show.

The assembly’s Labour group put forward amendments to the Tories’ budget that included a spending line item titled ‘Funding for sprinkler programme’. They explained it in the document (section 2.4):

“We believe that the London Fire Brigade has a role in not just promoting sprinkler and fire suppression equipment but, also, to work with organisations to actually fit sprinklers to reduce risk and reduce the cost of fire to the public…

“London Assembly Labour proposes that the London Fire Brigade works with borough councils – in areas that may see an increase in risk in future years – to retrofit sprinkler systems in residential social housing for at risk groups.”

Grenfell Tower exactly meets their definition of “residential social housing for at risk groups” and so would have been high up in the queue for sprinklers.

Excerpt from the document

Labour’s proposed budget allocated £500,000 from London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority reserves. This might not sound like much but would have paid for sprinkler systems for 12 tower blocks that year, with more to come in future years.

However, mayor Boris Johnson and the Tories on the London Assembly pushed ahead with their own austerity budget, ignoring Labour’s call for sprinklers.

In the document, the Labour group also supports the fire brigade’s calls for sprinklers and fire suppression equipment to be “made mandatory in private and public buildings and residential properties”.

If only Boris had listened.