Grenfell Tower was a block of flats with 24 floors in North Kensington, West London. On 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in Grenfell Tower and spread very fast throughout the block with the help of flammable cladding. This disaster destroyed Grenfell Tower and resulted in the loss of 72 lives. Many more were injured. This is a classic example of what can happen when regulations are non-existent or inadequate. If the Retained EU Law Bill becomes law, almost 4000 EU-derived laws could disappear overnight at the end of this year and ministers would only have to do nothing to let this happen.
Since the Grenfell Tower fire, there has been a public inquiry to find out what went wrong at Grenfell Tower and the lessons to be learned. The cladding on other blocks of flats has been checked to see which ones need better fire protection.
Jacob Rees-Mogg introduced the REUL Bill to implement his plans to scrap all EU-derived laws. When Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak reached the final round of a Conservative leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson last year, they competed to express the greatest zeal to scrap EU laws in order to appeal to Eurosceptic party members, whose support they needed to win and become the next PM.
They and their party colleagues have no idea what effect the disappearance of all these laws would be. They cannot name most of these laws or what they do. This is part of the Government’s post-Brexit deregulation agenda. They claim that the deregulation agenda is all about reducing burdens on business. However, this should not be the only consideration for deregulation. We must not allow Jacob Rees-Mogg and his friends to make a quick buck by cutting corners at everyone else’s expense.
When disaster strikes, we will be left to pick up the pieces and it could cost us dearly. For example, the 2008 financial crisis was caused by inadequate banking regulations and we all paid a high price for it. An inquiry heard that the Grenfell Tower disaster was caused by a “complex combination of corporate greed with complete disregard for safety”. Improving the fire protection of other blocks of flats will obviously cost money. But residents have a right to live in safe accommodation. One man’s burden is another man’s protection.
UKMA is concerned about the potential loss of some weights and measures legislation, which is listed in the Rees-Mogg’s Legislation Time Bomb MV article. This threatens the UKMA campaign’s goal of consumer protection through the use of a single system of measurement units for all official purposes. The default outcome is that the affected laws will be revoked at the end of this year. This will happen automatically if nothing is done to save them.
One of the affected laws is the 1985 Weights and Measures Act. What would happen if it disappears? It would probably result in a chaotic total absence of all weights and measures regulation. But this Act revoked the previous 1963 W&M Act. If the 1985 W&M Act is revoked, without any other ancillary provisions being made, would the 1963 W&M Act come back into force? What happens to other legislation, not affected by this Bill, but which refers to the 1985 W&M Act?
It is clear that the implications of the REUL Bill have not been properly considered. It will give ministers a free hand to decide what stays, what changes and what goes. We cannot trust the Government to save our standards, rights and protections. Why should we trust a Government that is hostile to W&M legislation that mandates use of the metric system and to any laws that were enacted as a result of EU directives?
- https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56403431 (“Grenfell Tower inquiry: 9 things we now know about the cladding”, BBC News report, 23 March 2021)