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More UK towers fail fire safety tests

Press Association logoPress Association 28/06/2017

A total of 120 tower blocks in England have so far failed fire safety tests and have combustible cladding, British Prime Minister Theresa May says.

May said flammable cladding was found in the high-rise blocks across 37 local authority areas in England in tests carried out in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14.

She said 100 per cent of the cladding samples tested have been found to be combustible and urged local authorities and housing associations to "get on" with fire safety checks without waiting for test results.

The prime minister said 282 good quality temporary properties have been identified for victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, 132 families have had their needs assessed, and 65 offers of temporary accommodation have been made.

The government has provided nearly STG1.25 million ($A2.11 million) in discretionary payments and will be giving an extra STG1 million to a local group of charities, trusts and foundations "which have been doing such important work", May said.

The PM said she expects to name a judge for the public inquiry into the disaster "soon".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked for a "categorical" answer on whether cladding with a combustible core, such as polyethylene, is legal for high-rise buildings, and if that used on Grenfell Tower was legal.

May replied: "The situation is, in relation to the cladding, that the building regulations identify the cladding which is compatible with the building regulations and that which is non-compliant with those building regulations.

"My understanding is that this particular cladding was not compliant with the building regulations.

"This raises wider issues... and it is important that we are careful in how we talk about this because there is a criminal investigation taking place and it's important that we allow the police to do that criminal investigation and take the decisions that they need to take."

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