Archbishop commends response of faith communities and emergency services to Grenfell Tower Fire

On 22nd June 2017 the Leader of the House of Commons repeated a Government statement on the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke after the statement:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome the Statement and the eventual comprehensive response, and I particularly welcome the speech given by the noble Baroness, the Leader of the Opposition, which was especially powerful and helpful. Having been with voluntary groups at the Grenfell Tower during the day following the fire, I have two questions.

First, one of the fire officers we were talking to said, “This is the third once-in-a-generation event in a few weeks”. The number of emergency service people, who for the third time in a very few weeks put their lives on the line and found themselves in a situation of the most absolute horror, seeking to save the victims who were caught in the fire as well as in the previous terrorist incidents, is much higher than would normally be expected. Can the Leader of the House confirm that there will be no budgetary constraints on the emergency services in providing support for those who have been involved in taking these huge risks and that those services will be adequately funded above and beyond their normal provision in supporting those who may need extra support after such a traumatic period?

Secondly, one of the other notable things is that around the site of the fire on the following day the faith communities—there is reference in the Statement to volunteers—were working together in a way that completely gave the lie to the divisions that the terrorist attacks had sought to create. This was the most powerful visual image of unity, and of unity around the suffering. Would she agree that those communities also merit mention and commendation?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park: I am happy to agree with the comments of the most reverend Primate. We also saw a similar coming together of community after the Finsbury Park mosque incident, so I am very happy to endorse everything he said. With regard to the emergency services, again, I think we have all agreed about the emergency services and the bravery of the fire services—the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, spoke very well about that. We saw in their response that they were able to act very quickly and to do everything within their power to save as many people as possible. Of course, we commend all the incredible work that they do.


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