Chancellor of the Exchequer: Grenfell Tower's cladding was banned in UK
The charred remains of Grenfell Tower, a fire-ravaged apartment block in North Kensington, London, United Kingdom, on June 17, 2017. EPA/ANDY RAIN
File image of the United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, at an informal EU summit in Valletta, Malta, April 7, 2017. EFE/Domenic Aquilina
London, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer on Sunday said he believed the flammable cladding used at a fire-ravaged tower block in west London was banned in the country.
Philip Hammond, of the Conservative Party, said in a BBC interview that he understood the cladding to be banned in Europe, the United States and the UK.
"My understanding is that the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here," said Hammond. "That's my understanding."
Asked why the cladding was used, Hammond replied: "There are two separate questions. One is, are our regulations correct? Do they permit the right kind of materials and ban the wrong kind of materials?"
"Second question is; were they correctly complied with? And obviously, that will be a subject that the inquiry will look at," he added. "It will also be a subject that the separate criminal investigation will be looking at."
The blaze that erupted Wednesday at Grenfell Tower _ a 24-floor highrise building in North Kensington hosting between 400-600 families _ resulted in at least 30 confirmed deaths.
According to the London Metropolitan Police, at least 28 residents were still missing and presumed dead, while 74 were injured, 24 of which remained hospitalized (half of them in critical care).
An investigation by The Guardian found that the cladding covering Grenfell Tower was the cheaper and more flammable option, costing 2 pounds ($2.56) less per square meter than the fire-resistant version.
The cladding _ called Reynobond PE and supplied by manufacturer Omnis Exteriors _ was made of aluminum composite material sheets with a flammable polyethylene core, which several experts said may have fueled the catastrophic fire and accelerated its spread.