Jim Armitage: Grenfell suggests we must review research funding

Extracts from an article written by Jim Armitage, Deputy Business Editor at the Evening Standard.

“In all the investigations into the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we should not lose sight of the role government cost-cutting might have played in the monitoring of construction companies and the materials they use.”

“Until austerity began to bite, the Building Research Establishment was a relatively well-funded organisation which would carry out safety tests on materials and building techniques at the behest of the Government. It tested a huge range of risks, including fire. However, accounts for the BRE highlight that its funding from Government has been falling dramatically, making its financial life more difficult.” [...]

Northern exposure

“Former Goldman Sachs guru Jim O’Neill is upbeat about the Northern Powerhouse again. Lord O’Neill championed the project to get more public and private investment in the north as a Treasury minister. He quit after Theresa May’s team went cold on the idea.”

“Today, however, he says the exits of Downing Street advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill mean it’s all back on. We should hope he’s right: the North-South divide is as bad for London as it is for Liverpool.”  

“But figures from research group Tussell suggest there’s much ground to be made up. Public-sector contract awards to companies fell in the first quarter of the year in Yorkshire and the North-east, while the North-west’s modest increase from £3.3 billion to £4 billion was dwarfed by London’s £14.1 billion, up from £10.1 billion last year.” [...]

Read the full article on the Evening Standard’s website.

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