Category Archives: Grenfell Tower

Tories announce new scheme for buildings with ‘Grenfell’ cladding – while taking millions from builders who used it (allegedly)

Inferno: Grenfell Tower went up like a roman candle because it was covered in flammable cladding – killing an official total of 72 people.

The wrongness of this should be evident for all to see.

Firstly there’s the wrong of the new scheme to replace Grenfell-style cladding on tower blocks.

If you live in a block that’s taller than six storeys, your building will get a share of a £3.5 billion government fund to get rid of the flammable death stuff.

If your block is smaller – four to six storeys, then the government will stuff you with a loan, so you have to pay to strip off your own cladding. You get to pay it back at £50 per month, for “many years”.

Okay, they’re “low interest” but they’re also “long term”. Okay, they’re attached to the property – not the occupier – but that just means anybody in an affected block of four-six storeys is hammered with negative equity for – as good as – ever; new buyers would factor the loan into any decision on whether to buy and it is likely to lower prices.

Secondly, there’s the wrong of the £2.5 million allegedly donated to the Conservative Party – the political organisation running the government that has introduced these cladding replacement schemes – by the builders who installed the terminally-flammable cladding in the first place.

That’s right. The Tories stumped up £3.5 billion for one scheme, knowing they’ll tax that money right back*, set up a second scheme that takes cash direct from the people affected – and the people responsible for all the trouble, gave the Tories £2.5 million (allegedly).

*Apparently there’ll be a £200 million a year tax on the property industry to pay for all this – but you know the top bosses will just pass the cost on to clients rather than pay any of it themselves.

That’s great value for money – for the (allegedly) builders!

And that’s especially true when we remember that the firm that sold the cladding used at Grenfell Tower knew about the risk of fires in 2013, but continued to offer a flammable version of it.

And there’s even more wrong!

There was no announcement … for people in buildings of three storeys or less, who it appears could still be hit with eye-watering cladding bills by their freeholders.

There was also no new answer to who will pay for expensive “waking watches” – wardens who patrol buildings to check they are not currently on fire. Mr Jenrick referenced a £30m fund to replace waking watches with fire alarms, that was already open.

We also don’t know when the new support will launch or when we will get more detail about it.

And we don’t know if the £50-a-month loans for people in low-rise blocks will ever be written off. If they’re not, the announcement indicates a flat that faced a £50,000 bill could be paying it off for more than 80 years.

Some have condemned the Tory government’s behaviour as “incompetence” but let’s try to be honest about it, shall we?

If they really did take money, it’s corruption.

Source: Fury at new cladding scheme – how it works and why it ‘betrays’ flat owners – Mirror Online

Starmer’s farcical Telegraph column actually tries to attack Tories for fence-sitting

Keir Starmer: what you can’t see is that he’s actually sitting on a fence. He’s just been there so long that he’s had a back rest installed.

How did Labour’s (remaining) membership ever elect as leader a man with such a staggering lack of self-awareness?

It’s bad enough that Keir Starmer thinks writing a column in the Torygraph is a good way to build support for his policy-free political party.

But to accuse the Conservatives of “sitting on the fence”, after he spent almost his entire tenure as Labour leader doing just that, is an act of colossal ignorance.

Worse even than that: the issue he raised – flammable cladding on tower blocks after the Grenfell Tower inferno – is not an example of Tory fence-sitting. It’s an example of Tory buck-passing because they’re making us pay to make these homes safe, rather than their landlords.

Starmer is trying to shame the Tories for abstaining on Labour proposals that would – rightly – get the unsafe cladding off threatened buildings and pursue those who should be paying for it, for the costs.

It would be a reasonable course of action – if Starmer hadn’t earned his own nickname “the abstainer” so well over nearly a year.

“Is this satire?” reads one comment on Facebook. “Of all the people to talk about abstentions it’s definitely funniest coming from [Starmer].”

Another stated: “Starmer is permanently sitting on the fence. You know what they say: ‘You will get splinters in your backside’.”

A further commenter resorted to verse: “The ‘Sir’ sat on the fence all day,
“Had nothing to do and nothing to say,
“Now give him a flag and he’ll wave it forever,
“But an honest socialist – Never, Ever, Never!”

But possibly the most biting referred to the fact that Starmer had published his article behind the Torygraph‘s paywall.

It reads, simply: “Sorry but I haven’t worked since the first lockdown and can’t afford to read your article.”

Tory plan to save tower block residents from cost of fixing unsafe cladding is to charge EVERYBODY

The ruin of Grenfell Tower: thousands of other tower blocks are covered in cladding that is just as flammable, endangering many thousands of people’s lives. Their owners bought it because it was cheap. Now, it seems the same owners will dodge the cost of rectifying their potentially fatal mistake. Why should they?

What spectacular stupidity.

Many thousands of flat owners and tenants are facing huge bills for fire safety work to replace cladding on their buildings, after the Grenfell Tower blaze of nearly four years ago.

Despite the fact that they did not commission the unsafe cladding, residents are likely to have to pay to have it removed and replaced – at huge cost – under current conditions.

The cost is likely to run to billions of pounds.

The Labour Party rightly said that leaseholders and taxpayers should be protected from the cost, and the government should pursue those who were actually responsible for the “cladding crisis”.

Its Commons motion to that effect passed unopposed because the Tories didn’t turn up. We may conclude that Boris Johnson feared another public relations disaster if he opposed it. The result is not binding on the government.

But the last thing the Tories want to do is force businesses to pay for the problems they have caused. They have spent more than three years trying to protect them from that.

So now the plan is to force the taxpayer – everybody in the UK – to pay for the fatal cost-cutting of a few greedy businesses by stumping up government money for the work.

The government has decided to allocate extra funding, possibly running into billions of pounds, to speed up the removal of unsafe cladding.

An announcement is expected within weeks as negotiations between the housing ministry and Treasury are reaching a conclusion.

Something needs to be done, obviously. People have been living in unsafe housing for three and a half years since the Grenfell fire killed so many people – and other fires caused by flammable cladding have happened in the meantime (fortunately with no fatalities).

But we have a government that simply won’t lay blame where it is due.

Instead, these gutless Tories would rather force everybody else to pay the price, even though we never incurred it.

Unjust.

Source: Ministers plan extra cash to remove unsafe cladding – BBC News

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Files on #GrenfellTower cladding ‘lost forever’ after deletion from laptop. How convenient!

Up in smoke: Grenfell Tower after the fire that killed 72 residents. Emails and documents on the refurbishment that put flammable cladding on the building has been found to have been destroyed.

Emails, documents and design drawings relating to the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower that put highly flammable cladding on its walls have been lost forever after being deleted from a laptop, the inquiry into the 2017 disaster has learned.

Design manager Daniel Anketell-Jones, who worked for cladding specialists Harley Facades until March 2016, told the hearing he erased his work computer of all files after agreeing to keep the device despite leaving the firm.

Harley managing director Ray Bailey said… “Daniel Anketell-Jones… left Harley some months before the fire.

“By that stage he had both deleted all of his Harley related emails from his laptop and had arranged with our service provider to remove his email file from our systems.”

Asked about this by inquiry lawyer Kate Grange QC, Mr Anketell-Jones said: “I don’t know what he means by that.

“I didn’t arrange for that to happen. I don’t think I would have the authority or the security to do that.”

How convenient for this firm – directly involved in the refurbishment that turned Grenfell Tower into a tinderbox – that this documentation has similarly gone up in smoke.

Email dialogues that are now lost could have cast light on whether designers were aware that the cladding was a danger to the lives of everybody living behind it (72 of those lives were lost in the blaze).

The deletion may have been entirely innocent – but it looks deeply suspicious.

And it creates another obstacle for the inquiry, that is trying to determine where ultimate responsibility for the deaths lies.

Source: Grenfell files ‘lost forever’ after laptop wiped, inquiry hears | London | ITV News

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Jenrick says Grenfell recommendations will be implemented. Get ready for ANOTHER u-turn

Inferno: The Grenfell Tower blaze caused the greatest single loss of life in London since World War II, with official figures showing 72 people lost their lives.

How can we believe a Tory claim that the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on safety for people living in flats will be put into practise?

For a start, Robert Jenrick is the one making the claim and he’s as crooked as a nine-bob note (in This Writer’s experienced opinion)!

The recommendations

required flat owners or building managers in England and Wales to:

  • Share information with their local fire service about the design of external walls and the materials used
  • Carry out regular inspections of lifts and individual flat entrance doors
  • Share evacuation and fire safety instructions with residents of the building

But we will have to monitor the Tories carefully, if we want to be sure they don’t pull yet another u-turn.

And remember: they have already prevented the most important change – the removal of all flammable cladding from tower blocks.

What conclusion are we supposed to draw from that, apart from:

The Tories never cared about the lives lost at Grenfell and will happily watch more people die the same way.

Source: Grenfell recommendations will be implemented, says Robert Jenrick – BBC News

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Brexit – and Grenfell – reveal two faces of Theresa May within a single day

Former prime minister Theresa May seemed to have developed a backbone when she stood up to Boris Johnson over his Brexit u-turn – but that’s only if you haven’t noticed her betrayal of the dead of Grenfell, that happened less than 24 hours before.

As the Johnson government introduced new legislation into Parliament, contradicting the withdrawal agreement that Johnson himself negotiated and signed, Mrs May had this to say about it:

It was a principled stand, and won support in the social media from those of us who understood what she meant:

Of course, there were some well-aimed barbs too:

But while we may praise Mrs May for her response to the withdrawal agreement, er… withdrawal, she has disgraced herself over the response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

May was prime minister when the London tower block was engulfed in flames, due to the fact that it was covered in highly-flammable cladding.

She said at the time that she would work to make sure no such tragedy ever happened again.

Well, cladding on another London block caught fire with the same effect between then and now – fortunately with no fatalities.

And yesterday, Mrs May happily voted to ensure that the recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry – including the removal of such cladding from private and publicly-owned residential properties – will not be implemented by the government:

We cannot praise her comments on Brexit without condemning her actions on Grenfell.

I agree with Mr Patel (above):

Never trust a Tory.

The idiocy of Robert Jenrick – he’s a bigger danger to the public than the young people he’s attacking

Robert ‘bent as a nine-bob note’ Jenrick: He broke housing rules to save his mate Richard Desmond £50 million; he broke lockdown rules to visit his spare homes and see his family; he voted against safety procedures for tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell Tragedy; but he thinks young people should be blamed for increased Covid-19 infections and wants them to wash their hands.

Robert Jenrick, who is still the Conservative housing secretary despite a strong of corrupt misuses of the role, appeared on the TV news programmes today (September 8) to patronise the public about Covid-19 safety.

Reading from a script set out by Matt Hancock yesterday, he tried to claim that young people need to stick to the Tory governments rules for not spreading the virus. There is still no evidence to show that people aged 20-29 are spreading it in the same way their counterparts in Europe were found to be.

And Jenrick himself is one of those who broke his own government’s lockdown rules – twice – so he could visit his second home – a huge mansion – and visit family members staying there.

The response was strong:

Jenrick’s own claim to be acting in the name of public safety has been hotly disputed, partly because he is more interested in getting parents back to work and reviving the economy than in the safety of children at school –

If you want to know how that’s going, here are the figures:

– and especially after the man who is, remember, housing secretary helped vote down an attempt to make housing safer in the wake of the Grenfell Tragedy.

The Labour Party tried to amend the Fire Safety Bill currently going through Parliament to include recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry’s phase one report, published last October – including the removal of flammable cladding from buildings where people live.

Shockingly, despite a government undertaking to remove this potentially fatal substance, the latest government figures released in August showed that Grenfell-style cladding had not been removed from more than 80 per cent of private sector buildings and nearly 50 per cent of social sector buildings.

Jenrick voted against the amendment, alongside the rest of his murderous Tory Party.

If any more fires happen due to this cladding, then the Tories who took part in that vote should be held responsible for any deaths.

To add hypocrisy to this injury, let’s all remember that Jenrick had the cheek to lay a wreath at the memorial wall beside Grenfell Tower for the first anniversary of the tragedy:

Of course he won’t face justice for any of his corrupt choices.

As a Tory minister, Robert Jenrick remains well above the law and the police absolutely refuse to investigate any crimes alleged against him.

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United Nations warns UK could be breaking international law over cladding

The cladding at Grenfell Tower explained: The materials used were flammable – not flame-resistant.

What do you think the Conservative government will do about this, considering it is now three years since the Grenfell disaster and the Tories haven’t lifted a finger to replace flammable cladding on thousands of other tower blocks?

This Writer is willing to bet we’ll hear a load of flannel about the UN not doing its job properly – or misinterpreting its role in some way, and some minister – probably Robert Jenrick – will make some sabre-rattling suggestion that it should keep its foreign nose out.

You know how it would be – like the Tories did when the UN accused this country of institutional abuse of people with disabilities.

The last thing the Tories want to do is spend money on poor people who are living in firetraps.

The UN has warned Britain that its failure to strip combustible cladding from high-rise buildings containing tens of thousands homes may be a breach of international law.

The global body is demanding answers about the UK government’s delayed programme to fix hundreds of blocks wrapped in flammable panels and with other fire safety problems.

Leilani Farha, the UN’s special rapporteur on adequate housing, wrote to the government to express “serious concern about allegations of multiple violations of the human right to adequate housing, of which safety is a key component – contrary to international human rights law”.

Source: UK could be breaking international law over cladding, says UN | Society | The Guardian

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Tories mark third anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy with a staggering display of hypocrisy

As it was then: firefighters are pictured dousing small blazes on what remained of Grenfell Tower’s outer cladding, after the fire three years ago. The extent of the damage is clear.

What a strange mob these Conservative brutes are turning out to be! It seems they think everyone can be fooled by a bit of public relations jiggery-pokery.

So on the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower blaze, they lit up 10 Downing Street in green, took a photo of it and gave us some flowery words about a commitment to uncover the causes of the disaster and ensure it never happens again.

Did it work?

Don’t make me laugh…

Another Twitter commenter added: “Oh do naff off. There are still families who have not been properly housed. There are thousands of properties country-wide cladded with flammable materials. No amount of cosmetic PR will exonerate you.”

Consider this:

And this:

If you’re wondering about the significance of the names, they’ll belong to the people who died.

The Independent tells us of the plight of the Grenfell families who are still living in temporary accommodation, three years after they were put there:

Figures from Kensington and Chelsea Council show that there are still seven households living in temporary accommodation. There are also said to be around 10 households who used to live in the tower who have since requested to be moved again as they were placed into permanent [homes] that [were] unsuitable.

Spike Western, housing paralegal at North Kensington Law Centre, told The Independent the delays stemmed from a failure by successive governments to provide adequate social housing:

“The households who have still to be rehoused permanently following Grenfell are the most vulnerable survivors. They represent either those with particular housing needs, such as those arising from a disability, or those on whom moving permanently is something that cannot be rushed and must only be done when the survivor is ready,” he said.

“The damage has been done, and that is severe lack of investment in social and affordable housing over a long period, meaning there aren’t a whole lot of suitable options.”

Then-prime minister Theresa May had promised them their stay would last a maximum of three weeks.

What a liar. And now she has gone, leaving her successor to handle the mess – or kick this can of worms further down the road.

And once again, people with disabilities are left to suffer the most.

Grenfell went up like a tinderbox because it had been covered with a “flame-retardant” cladding that was the exact opposite. Fire chiefs have condemned the fact that the Tories haven’t exerted themselves to replace the same flammable cladding that covers many other blocks of flats – endangering the lives of thousands, three years after the tragedy:

The National Fire Chiefs Council called for “a fundamental reform of building safety” ahead of Sunday’s third anniversary of the fire that killed 72 people.

A parliamentary committee warned that fixing all serious fire-safety defects in high-risk residential buildings could cost up to £15 billion.

Some 2,000 residential buildings are still wrapped in dangerous cladding, meaning that thousands of homeowners sleep in potential fire traps every night, according to the report by the housing, communities and local government committee.

And bandwagon-jumping Labour leader Keir Starmer has said the fact that hundreds of buildings still bear Grenfell-style cladding three years later is “unforgivable” – but, I don’t know… I’m not sure his heart was in it. He seemed much more comfortable siding with the Tories over the threat to statues of racists and slave dealers than against them over this.

The question in the tweet is a good one for all of us to ask, I think.

Are we really more concerned with the safety of a few chunks of rock than for the lives of thousands of our fellow human beings?

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Johnson humiliated again as woman he appointed to Grenfell inquiry resigns over corrupt link to cladding firm

Remember Benita Mehra?

This Site tagged her up as a sign of Boris Johnson’s corruption when it was revealed that he had appointed her to sit on the panel of the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

She has links to the company which made the cladding blamed for accelerating the blaze.

I said her appointment was a sign that Boris Johnson, who now has a huge Parliamentary majority and may impose any changes to the structure of the United Kingdom that he sees fit, is rubbing our collective nose in it.

And now she has quit.

It seems that, while Mr Johnson was completely indifferent to the depth of feeling about his appointment of Ms Mehra… she was not.

In her letter of resignation, she said she recognised and respected the “depth of feeling” some people felt about her appointment.

According to the source article (see below), survivors group Grenfell United and bereaved families welcomed the news after previously raising concerns about her link.

I agree with their opinion: They said Ms Mehra had “done the dignified thing by resigning,” but added that the government “should never have put families in this situation”.

That’s right.

Mr Johnson has accepted the resignation.

Now he has a vacancy to fill.

One wonders if he has an even more inappropriate candidate in mind.

Source: Grenfell Tower inquiry member resigns over link to cladding firm – LBC News

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