The Chancellor said the question of fitting sprinklers in schools and tower blocks should be decided by “technical experts”
Chancellor Philip Hammond appeared to quibble over whether sprinklers saved lives this morning, insisting that should be decided by “technical experts.”
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr it wouldn’t be right for him to say whether sprinklers should be fitted in tower blocks and schools until after the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.
He said: “If the conclusion of a proper technical evaluation is that that is the best way to deal with the problem then of course.
“But my understanding – and again I’m not an expert – but my understanding is that the best expert advice is that retrofitting sprinklers may not always be the best technical way of ensuring fire safety in a building.”
He went on: “If it is, it should be done, but let’s get the technical advice, fully evaluated by public inquiry and then let’s decide how to go forward.
He insisted if something needs to be done to make buildings safe, “it will be done.”
Host Andrew Marr said: “I’m not an expert either, but let me put it to you that we don’t need technical expertise to tell us that sprinklers help put out fires and a lot of people sitting in blocks like that one will be watching this programme thinking ‘there are no sprinklers outside my staircase, why not?.’
And he said the Fire Brigades Union had noted there had never been a death from fire in the UK in a building where sprinklers had been fitted.