Grenfell Tower fire

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Grenfell Fire inquiry phase 2 could be delayed

Tom Symonds

Home Affairs Correspondent

The second phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will not start until Autumn 2019 at the earliest.

A barrister for one of the residents, Rajiv Menon, told the inquiry this morning the hearings may slip further – to 2020.

The BBC understands the inquiry Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick will confirm the new timetable tomorrow.

The delay may be due to the need to allow possible criminal proceedings to take place first.

The Metropolitan Police has so far refused to give an update on the progress of its investigation.

Phase 2 of the inquiry will examine the refurbishment of the building, blamed for using materials which helped the flames to spread. Full inquests into the deaths may now come before the second phase.

However the inquiry is under growing pressure to offer a “fearless reckoning” of what went wrong and what must be change.

Victims’ barristers want the inquiry to make early findings to improve the safety of other residential tower blocks.

Mental health becomes main cause for fire brigade absence

Dany Cotton
Getty Images

Stress, anxiety and depression have become the main reasons given for sickness absence in the London Fire Brigade (LFB), the brigade's commisoner has said.

Dany Cotton told the London Assembly there had been a "small increase" in the number of days taken as sick leave over the last three years.

The commissioner said it was the first time mental health has been the leading cause of the absences but "new measures are in place to support staff" including four new counsellors.

LFB's counselling and trauma team has treated more than 157 personnel since the Grenfell fire in June last year, according to a document submitted to the public inquiry which sets out changes the brigade has made since the blaze.