Exerpt from article in the Independent by Chris Williamson MP for Derby North, and shadow minister for fire and emergency services : :

Blair's government further blurred the lines of responsibility for fire safety enforcement by insisting that the role of a fire inspector should be to “inform and educate” rather than enforce. With a renewed emphasis on facilitating the private sector, the role of fire safety enforcement officers morphed into being that of “business support”, charged only with keeping buildings “safe enough” and not simply safe.

As for the principal of privatisation, it was again during the mid-80s when the imperatives of private profit began to trump the need for public safety. Prior to 1984, plans for new buildings or refurbishments had to be approved by local authority inspectors. Then with new legislation Thatcher’s government allowed private so-called Approved Inspectors to compete with local authorities over contracts to inspect plans for new building work.  

The impact of competition was twofold. First, in a bid for competitiveness the new inspectors drove down costs which in turn drove down quality, particularly in the skills and training of officers and inspectors. Second, competition created incentives for inspectors to please their clients, the developers, who could “shop around” for leniency.   

Finally, our fire service has seen some of the deepest cuts having lost 11,000 front-line firefighters since 2010. The Fire Brigades Union has also raised concerns that the service is under-resourced, in particular in regards to aerial ladders.  

But the pursuit of cuts goes back further. Again, under Blair,“modernisation” of the fire and rescue service became a euphemism for cuts. As a result, fire and rescue authorities lost inspectors and so also lost the capacity to oversee fire risk assessments.