The man advising the Government on its response to the Grenfell Tower disaster argued in favour of cuts to fire service funding and against fitting sprinklers to tower blocks.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced last night that Sir Ken Knight will chair an “independent expert advisory panel” to advise on new fire safety measures.

It has been pointed out that Knight advised the Government against retrofitting sprinklers to high rise residential buildings in his report on the Lakanal House fire in Camberwell, in which six people died.

He wrote: “It is not considered as practical or economically viable to make a requirement for the retrospective fitting of fire suppression systems to all current high-rise residential buildings.”

Scrapbook has also found that Knight was the author of a 2013 report which advocated £200 million worth of cuts to the fire service. 

The report’s recommendations included cutting the number of firefighters. In a BBC interview at the time, Knight said:

“The protection of services is not just about jobs, it’s about redefining what we want firefighters to do, what we want the fire service to do.

“So it is right, there will be an adjustment to numbers, of jobs, of people, of people doing different jobs, but that’s right in any business, in any industry, in any area of the public sector.”

Here’s how the report was covered by ITV news at the time:

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack warned that the report was “a fig leaf for slashing our fire and rescue service to bits”.

Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The review is effectively giving the government cover to embark on yet another round of damaging cuts to our fire service.”

The report was published at the same time as Boris Johnson was pushing through his plans to close 10 fire stations, take 14 fire engines out of service and sack 600 firefighters.

And, since its publication, former Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has frequently used the Knight report to fob off questions about fire safety.

So how can Knight credibly advise on measures to stop a repeat of the Grenfell disaster with a record like that?

And how can Sajid Javid credibly claim to be doing “everything possible” to prevent a repeat after appointing a nodding dog?

Far from doing whatever it takes to save lives, ministers have chosen one of their own to save their careers…

  1. Naomi Ridge says:

    The fire brigade saved my life after a car accident! Their skills & work covers so much more than fighting fires, they work in many situations! We have underestimated their importance!

  2. Alice Price RGN. BA says:

    Can’t believe this policing themselves again. Poacher not turned gamekeeper still a poacher. Sleazy and dishonest. They should look up the word independent. Doesn’t say much for their expensive education does it?

  3. elizabeth ann ross says:

    this will cost lives and the Tories are just asking to be removed from office. sooner the better people are so angry now

  4. Mark Humphries says:

    Surely he has to be removed because the buckets marked;


    Are being lined up!

  5. Robert Soar says:

    They have a scapegoat already in the cladding manufacturers. They will be sacrificed to public opinion so that Tory austerity measures will not need to be mentioned in any inquiry.

  6. I’ve supplied a link below to the 2009 report, that Sir Ken Knight wrote, about the Lakanal House fire. I find it rather comical that people are ripping the “Piratical & Economical” quote way out of context as if he meant it personally. It was written in the report under the “5.5: Active fire protection”, titled “5.5.1: Emerging Issues” He was outlining this as an issue, which it is for older buildings, and is just stating it as such. Nowhere, in that report, does he actually state that this is his opinion. So it is unfair to say that he was in-favour of not fitting sprinklers into building when all he was doing was stating an economical fact in his report.

  7. Rod Andrews says:

    Unbelievable appointment, shows this government is just not listening to the people of Britain.

  8. But surely he’s right for the job, after all he’s a ‘Sir’……. jobs for the boys yet again!

  9. Debbie brady says:

    The government is not listening because it has an agenda to.privatise every public service which is why they cut so many ti bits first PROFITS THE NAME OF THE TORIES GAME LIVES ARE NOT EVEN CONSIDERED .We are under attack and have been since they came to power we have to rise up and use our people power to get them out rhey are very very nervous now is the time to strike before our NHS is pushed through the privatising too asap so come on guys people power get those corrupt tories out now.

  10. Stephen Hall says:

    JK, I am perplexed at how you find any of this “rather comical.” On the very first page of the report, for which you have kindly provided a link, there appears the name of the Author: one Sir Ken Knight CBE QFSM DL. By dint of including that, he is accepting that, even if the opinions quoted are not actually his, he is fully accepting of them. He was the Advisor to the Government. You don’t seriously think he would offer that advice if he wasn’t fully behind it, surely? Holes, digging and stop spring to mind.

  11. Another Tory stooge, this man has no credibility, he likes to feather his own nest, you need people that will be honest and truthful with the evidence put before them.

  12. It has all the appearance of some strange form of genocide. They keep the poor and disabled hungry, they deplete our life saving services. eg the firefighters who do more than just put out fires, they risk their own lives doing it. They also save the lives of people trapped in their car after a collision , The police force depleted whilst crime increases and becomes more dangerous. Above all they are killing our NHS which saves lives every hour of the day. Whilst they remain safe in their comfy nests which we pay for.

  13. So the report to which he signed his name and endorsement gives the advice that fire sprinklers should be installed then, does it JK. If not, we must assume that he endorses not doing so, and that the nit picking about him quoting from somewhere else is both irrelevant and clutching at straws to excuse an inexcusable appointment.

  14. Stella Gooch says:

    I have voted Conservative for 90% of my adult life, only swaying towards UKIP for the other 10%. Stories like this will have me tirning to Labour if the establishment does not get its act together. This is horrendous appointment and should be revoked immediately. Vote of no confidence at the outset does not bode well for the credibility of his report.

  15. A publicly appointed corrupt stooge, as an ex-firefighter what angers/upsets me most is that at one time he would have rode on a fire engine alongside his fire service family, a total and utter tratorious excuse for a human bring.

  16. Shane Dempsey says:

    Jk, don’t older buildings catch fire? And what constitutes an older building anyway? Bear in mind, that Grenfell was built in the 1970’s…

  17. I would like to say this can’t be happening and it saddens me that I am no longer shocked at the either absolute thickness or unscrupulous nature of this government.

  18. Marie French says:

    I admit I tend towards believing this article but will not share if the writer is not named and no sources are given for the information.

  19. Pam Jerham says:

    So he ultimately signed the death warrant for the victims of Grenfell. Shame on HMG for entrusting the lives of even more of the population to this man.

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