Tower block fire checks failure firm spent £8,500 on lavish reception at Tory conference

A gas firm being investigated after checks triggered by the Grenfell disaster revealed gaps in its tower block inspections spent £8,500 on a lavish reception at Conservative Party conference.

A gas firm being investigated after checks triggered by the Grenfell disaster revealed gaps in its tower block inspections spent £8,500 on a lavish reception at Conservative Party conference.

National Grid spin-off Cadent is being investigated by Ofgem and the Health and Safety Executive after an council checks triggered by the Grenfell disaster revealed that it may have missed gas pipe inspections in up to 1,000 tower blocks.

Cadent was formed last year after National Grid sold a majority stake in one of its subsidiaries to a consortium led by Australian investment bank Macquarie in a £13.8 billion deal. The consortium also included Chinese and Qatari sovereign wealth funds.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of public services union Unison, warned at the time that Macquarie’s stint running Thames Water showed that it had “poor form already in building up huge company debt, repatriating massive dividends to the southern hemisphere and charging customers for a much poorer service”.

Now Red Roar can reveal that the firm spent £8,500 on a reception at Conservative Party conference in October which was attended by the Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Cadent’s own press release on the reception states that it took place on 3rd October, and it includes a photo of Business Secretary Greg Clark with the firm’s chief executive who used his speech at the event to call for investment in the gas network.

Electoral Commission records published later in November show that Cadent donated £8,500 to the Conservatives in order to sponsor the reception.

Business Secretary Greg Clark could now come under additional pressure to ensure that Cadent and its owners are made to account for any failings.

 

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