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WSP agreed to Grenfell investigation gag

Grenfell tower fire (wider view)

WSP agreed to not criticise Theresa May or do anything to “embarrass” her during its investigation of the Grenfell Tower fire, it has been revealed.

The company signed a contract worth £100,000 plus VAT with the Cabinet Office which stated that neither WSP nor anyone working for the firm should “embarrass” or be in any way connected to negative publicity relating to the Cabinet Office or other Crown bodies, according to the Times.

WSP signed the deal to advise officials on whether cladding used by the government estate complied with building regulations on June 26 last year.

Having worked on structural engineering for the Wold Trade Centre in New York and the Shard in London, WSP was sought by the government for its expertise in cladding and fire safety.

Despite outlining that it could not the discuss its contract for work with a third party, WSP said: “We helped the Cabinet Office’s government property unit understand which types of cladding used across the UK government’s estate are unlikely to comply with building regulations so that the tragedy at Grenfell doesn’t ever happen again.” 

A series of damning reports on the fire safety of Grenfell Tower have been published as part of the ongoing inquiry into the tragedy.

Arup’s leader of fire safety engineering, Dr Barbara Lane, one of the expert witnesses in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, has highlighted failures such as internal doors and flat front doors, a dry fire main and the lift switch to firefighter mode not working.

News of the WSP deal comes after the government last month launched a £400M fund for local authorities and housing associations to use for safety upgrades following the Grenfell disaster.

The money will be used by 12 local authorities and 31 housing associations to cover the cost of removing and replacing aluminium composite material cladding systems on social housing buildings over 18m tall. 

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