The government have come under criticism in the wake of the Grenfell Tower block fire after voting against an amendment to force landlords to make sure their properties are "fit for human habitation" in 2016, and allegedly ignoring a report which warned such blazes could occur in thousands of tower blocks across the UK.

At least six people have died after a huge blaze ripped through the 24-story building in Kensington, west London, with the number of fatalities expected to continue to rise.

The cause of the fire at the tower block in the Lancaster West estate is not yet known. London mayor Sadiq Khan has already suggested there "will be a great many questions" about what caused the tragedy at the building which recently underwent a multi-million pound restoration.

Following the blaze, Ronnie King, the Honorary administrative secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Fire Safety & Rescue Group, accused the government of "sitting on" a report which warned as many as 4,000 tower blocks are at risk of fire because they are not properly fitted with sprinklers.

King, a former chief fire officer, said several ministers have seen the report and the evidence of potential tower block fires, but the recommendations have been ignored since its publication in 2013.

According to the Fire Risk Management Journal, Gavin Barwell, who was the housing minister until he was deposed as the Tory MP for Croydon South at the recent general election, promised to review part B of the Building Regulations 2010, which relate to fire safety, but nothing came of it. The report was released in 2009 following the fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, which killed six people.

King told LBC Radio: "The All-Party Group were looking at the issue of fire suppression in all the tower blocks with similar designs to this.

"And we understand that there are around 4,000 tower blocks that don't have fire sprinklers fitted into them.

"That was a recommendation, which was down to each local council and landlords to determine the appropriateness of this. Successive ministers since 2013 have said they are still looking at it."

Grenfell Tower fire west London
At least six people are confirmed to have died in the fire Leon Neal/Getty Images

Elsewhere, the Tories have also been condemned after it was found last year the party voted overwhelmingly against an amendment to the current Housing and Planning Bill to ensure houses were kept to a decent standard.

Of the 309 Tory MPs who voted against the motion, at least 71 of them are private landlords themselves.

However, the result of the amendment, brought forward by former shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce, does not have a direct link to the fire at Grenfell Tower, as it would have only required landlords to bring up and maintain properties to liveable standards. For instance, if there had already been fire damage, rather than directly implementing safety regulations.

Prior to the vote, Pearce described how situations some renters put up with, such as mould on walls, would not be tolerated in other sectors. She said: "If I purchased food from a shop and it was unsafe to eat I would not only get a refund but there is a high possibility the shopkeeper could be prosecuted.

"Yet if I rent from a landlord, perhaps the only available property for me, and it was unsafe to live in then I can either put up or shut up. In a market where demand outstrips supply renters lack basic consumer power to bargain for better conditions."

Elsewhere Rydon, the construction company responsible for the £8.6m development at Grenfell Tower, have ensured the building met "all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards".

Grenfell Tower fire west London Kensington
Scene of the fire in west London Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

It comes after residents living in the building claimed they had on numerous occasions expressed concern about the "dangerous living conditions" in the apartment block. The Grenfell Action Group (GAC) suggested it would take a "catastrophic event" to expose "the ineptitude and incompetence" of their landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

A spokesperson for Rydon added: "We are shocked to hear of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and our immediate thoughts are with those that have been affected by the incident, their families, relatives and friends.

"Rydon completed a refurbishment of the building in the summer of 2016 for KCTMO on behalf of the Council, which met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards. We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time.

"Given the ongoing nature of the incident and the tragic events overnight, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further at this stage."