“Don’t play politics with people’s lives” – Ann sends stern message to Eric Pickles

Responding to a letter from Eric Pickles, the Tory Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ann Jones, Assembly Member for the Vale of Clwyd, has sent a stern message to Mr Pickles urging him to stop using life-saving domestic fire sprinklers for his own party political point scoring.

Mrs Jones, who spent her working life in the Fire Service, seeing first-hand the devastation that fires cause to communities and families across the country, was responsible for steering a private members bill through the Assembly requiring sprinklers be built in all new domestic properties.

Mrs Jones said: “I have a clear message for Eric Pickles; don’t play politics with people’s lives.

“The sprinklers law will save lives. It has the backing of Chief Fire Officers across the country. It has the backing of people who have lost loved ones or been badly injured in fires. I just don’t understand why the Tories in Westminster see this wholly as a policy aimed at damaging the construction industry – and not cannot even see that it is about saving lives”.

The UK Government has said constantly that the installation of sprinklers will damage development viability in Wales, while the evidence provided during the scrutiny of the law said that it would have no effect on the industry.

Mrs Jones also said: “Eric Pickles constantly says that the Welsh Government is overburdening the construction industry in Wales. Perhaps he can explain how he reaches that conclusion when the construction industry is growing in Wales, and it has shrunk in the UK as a whole by a whopping 9%”.

“He’s picking facts out of thin air to suit his argument from a vested interest who notoriously do not like change. He and his colleagues have been refusing to meet me so I can explain the full facts to them including how this law has received scrutiny on nine different occasions, before receiving unanimous approval by the Assembly.

“The figures touted by him were soundly rejected as they were so over-inflated.

“Mr Pickles should meet with me so we can have a frank discussion and to stop the once and for all, the ridiculous figures that some house builders have been using”.