1. ITV Report

Southwark Council statement in full

"I apologise unreservedly to the families of the deceased and the former residents of Lakanal for the failings of the Council"

Councillor Ian Wingfield, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing said:

"The Lakanal fire on 3 July 2009 was a dreadful tragedy and one of the darkest days in Southwark’s recent history. Our sympathies are, as always, with the families, who have lived through this ordeal a second time at the inquests, and all those affected by the fire. On behalf of Southwark Council, I apologise unreservedly to the families of the deceased and the former residents of Lakanal for the failings of the Council that have been identified through this process.

"We would also like to thank the Coroner for her thorough review of the events relating to the Lakanal fire and also the jury for their patience and diligence in sitting through evidence from over 100 witnesses and technical experts.

"We have always supported all investigations and a thorough inquiry to get to the facts of what happened on 3 July 2009. It was vital that the families got answers to the many questions about the fire, how it was tackled and what happened to their loved ones. During the inquests, we have heard in great detail how many different factors contributed on that dreadful day, including in relation to some areas where we failed and that is why I can only say how sorry we are. We have learned immediate and enduring lessons from this tragedy and have improved what we do to make our residents and homes safe.

"The Council has put fire safety and improvements to our housing stock at the top of our priorities. First and foremost was the creation of a dedicated housing department with clear accountability. In addition, over £48m has been allocated to the Council’s fire risk assessment programme and associated fire safety works across the borough. In particular, all similar properties have an up to date fire risk assessment that is available to the public, and we are spending £326m making all our council homes warm, dry and safe.

"We would like to thank the Coroner for her recommendations, but now need some time to digest and take stock of what she has said. We will do so carefully and will act upon any recommendation that she has made, and we urge everyone in the country that has a responsibility in this area to do the same, not least to try to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again and in order that those who tragically lost their lives did not do so in vain".

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