AM fires back at right wing gutter press for sprinkler impossibilities

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones, has strongly criticised the Daily Mail and the Times Newspaper for their biased and unsubstantiated claims surrounding the impact of fire sprinklers on the housing market.

Ms Jones said: “This rhetoric, which is blatantly orchestrated by the Conservative Party in London, is using lies and spin rather than fact and evidence, to inform their reporting.

“How is it possible for the introduction of sprinklers in new builds to be ‘damaging the housing industry’ when the regulations are not being introduced until 2016? This obvious flaw in their argument shows that the main objective of the right wing press, owned by David Cameron’s mates, is to discredit Labour at any expense, even if the facts prove the opposite. I will not stand for it.

“Fire sprinklers offer the ultimate protection for homes and I make no apologies for trying to make sure that we do not see a repeat of the many deaths we see in Wales due to house fires each year.

“All the evidence considered by during the legislative scrutiny process at the Assembly contradicts their aspersions and I am calling on the Times and the Daily Mail to retract their jaundiced and fictitious comments”.

Evidence given to the previous Assembly’s Legislation Committee shows that in new build homes a sprinkler system costs around £2k, not the £6,000 figure mentioned by the Times – a figure which is likely to vastly reduce in time due to industry competition and innovation.

Research by the CITB – the national training organisation for construction in the UK – shows that nearly 18,000 new construction jobs are expected to be created in Wales over the next five years. The Welsh construction sector is set to grow 3.4% annually between now and 2018, outstripping all bar one region in England.

Ms Jones added: “The Times article is poorly researched and factually inaccurate about Wales’ legislation. The article states that unemployment in Wales in 7.8%, whereas ONS figures released last week prove that unemployment stands at 6.7%. This shows that the whole article cannot be trusted to give people the truth and is further evidence that their claims around the effects of fire sprinklers are pure fantasy”.

The Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011 was passed unanimously, with support from all four political parties. The policy is widely supported by Chief Fire Officers from across the UK as it will result in fewer fire deaths and minimise some of the enormous danger fire-fighters put themselves in on a daily basis.