Official quits after tower blaze; 600 blocks across UK vulnerable | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Official quits after tower blaze; 600 blocks across UK vulnerable

Nicholas Holgate, chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea council, tendered his resignation on Thursday in the wake of continuing outrage over the June 14 fire in the Grenfell Tower.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2017 17:33 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
A man is apprehended by police officers as protestors gather in Parliament Square after marching through central London on Wednesday during an anti-government protest to coincide with the State Opening of Parliament and following the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower.
A man is apprehended by police officers as protestors gather in Parliament Square after marching through central London on Wednesday during an anti-government protest to coincide with the State Opening of Parliament and following the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower. (AFP)

 Nearly 600 apartment blocks across the United Kingdom are draped in cladding similar to the one suspected to be responsible for the west London blaze that killed at least 79 people, prompting urgent calls for remedial steps and for holding accountable those responsible.

Nicholas Holgate, chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea council, tendered his resignation on Thursday in the wake of continuing outrage over the June 14 fire in the Grenfell Tower. A series of inquiries have been ordered, and victims have been re-housed in the wealthy borough.

“(It) should never have happened…initial failure was compounded by the fact that the support on the ground in the initial hours was not good enough,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement at the House of Commons. “As prime minister, I have apologised for that second failure and taken responsibility for doing what we can to put it right.”

In a separate statement, 10, Downing Street said 600 high-rise buildings across the country used cladding similar to Grenfell Tower, with more checks being conducted on rented property.

London mayor Sadiq Khan called for residents in hundreds of tower blocks with flammable cladding to be re-housed immediately unless the government can reassure them that their homes are safe.

Khan said Downing Street’s figure of 600 confirmed “people’s worst fears.”

There are reports that some of the flats in Grenfell Tower may have been sub-let illegally, and people living in them may not be counted in official figures and details of the victims. May said in her statement that there would be no immigration checks on survivors.

“I would also like to reassure people that we will not use this tragic incident as a reason to carry out immigration checks on those involved or on those providing vital information to identify victims or those assisting with the criminal investigation.”

“We will make sure that all victims, irrespective of their immigration status, will be able to access the services they need, including healthcare and accommodation’, she added.