Grenfell inquiry: Government admits 'mistakes and missed opportunities' led to conditions for fire

Conditions for the Grenfell Tower blaze came about from Government mistakes and missed opportunities, the housing department's lawyer has told the public inquiry into the disaster.

Jason Beer QC told the inquiry on Tuesday that the department was sorry for failures it made in overseeing the system that regulates safety within the construction industry and supervises building control bodies.

"Had there been a functional enforcement system with efficient assurance built in, non-compliance to the extent that gave rise to the Grenfell Tower tragedy may not have been possible," he told the inquiry.

Beer, representing Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said it "apologises to the bereaved residents and survivors of the fire for such failures."

Phase two of the inquiry is examining how Grenfell Tower came to be coated in flammable materials that contributed to the spread of flames, which shot up the tower in June that year, killing 72 people.

Module six of this phase is concerned with building regulations and the published guidance on fire safety, including detailed consideration of Government policy in this area.

Constructors, planners and suppliers had "abused" the Government's trust in them, Beer said.

He told the inquiry it is accepted that the housing department "should have done more to take on board the learnings and recommendations triggered by other fires."

It should also have responded "in a timelier manner" to concerns raised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety, he said.

The inquiry has previously heard from a lawyer for the families of Grenfell fire survivors and relatives of the bereaved who said that the blaze partly happened as a result of an "unbridled passion for deregulation."

Stephanie Barwise QC, said a desire to boost housing construction led to the industry being allowed to exploit regulations.

Matthew Butt QC, for the National House Building Council (NHBC), said it is "crucial" that the construction industry learns from the Grenfell fire.

Butt said it is the organisation’s view that "more should have been done by the house building industry as a whole and by both national and local government to ensure the strictest compliance with building regulations and to promote fire safety."

NHBC was not involved in the refurbishment of the tower but its role within the house building industry is being explored as part of module six.

Samantha Leek QC, representing the Building Research Establishment, which also features in module six, said the organisation is prepared to learn from any findings that show it could have done things better, the inquiry heard.