Tag Archives: grenfell tower

Building safety reform campaign continues

2021 marks four years since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower that claimed 72 lives. It shouldn’t take a horror of that scale, or any scale, to prompt change, but yet political divides still seem to be preventing meaningful action taking place. As well as this grim anniversary, 2021 marks the beginning of long overdue regulatory reform, where we expect to see some of the biggest changes to building safety laws for over 40 years.

Since the last time I wrote about the ongoing work led by the LGA, Lib Dem councillors, Lords and Parliamentarians to fight for tenant and leasehold rights, the Government has finally announced a series of steps it is taking to address the cladding crisis.

The trouble is that, not only is this action coming far later than necessary, I don’t think it goes anywhere near far enough.

The £3.5 billion package unveiled by Robert Jenrick fails to address the problems faced by residents living in unsellable flats in unsafe blocks. The fund is restricted to buildings over 17.7m in height, meaning around 88,000 buildings between 11m and 18m require remediation work but have no recourse to funding.

The fact that recent fires in Barking, Crewe, Worcester Park and Bolton all occurred in buildings below 18m shows the risk of this approach.

There will be Government funding for the removal of cladding for buildings of between 11 and 18 storeys, but crucially this is in the form of what the department has termed a “long-term, low-interest, Government-backed financing arrangement”. In other words, leaseholders will have to foot the eventual bill, with the Government pledging that no leaseholder will ever have to pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of the cladding.

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

8 November 2018 – today’s press releases

High Court rules Government must reverse cuts to modern slavery victims

Responding to today’s High Court ruling that the Government acted unlawfully when it cut payments to modern slavery victims, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery the great human rights issue of our time, but her Government cut support for victims by 40%, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation.

Now that the court has ruled those cuts unlawful, the Government must reverse them and ensure that victims receive the help they need to escape the terrible bonds of slavery.

You can’t fight

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We may not have a monument to Margaret Thatcher but we do have a monument to “Thatcherism”. It is the Grenfell Tower.

The foundation of Thatcherism is the minimisation of the state. It plans and proceeds to reduce government regulation and suppress its spending. It does this without the guidance of long term consequence and human cost.

Tower blocks, like Grenfell, lack sprinkler systems, alarms and secondary exit routes which, before the “bonfire of red-tape”, were the norm. They have been mandatory in New York since 1967. Grenfell proves that they are necessary and yet HMG has not yet withdrawn a press release of 03/04/2016, entitled “Government going to further cut red tape by £10 billion”. It has not reviewed or withdrawn its doctrinaire and dangerously unspecific “One-in, Three-out policy” under which three regulations must be removed every time a new one is introduced.

As well as its economic and social consequences, Thatcherism has affected attitudes, behaviours, relationships and language.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

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