Tag Archives: residents

Grenfell residents who raised safety fears before fire were bullied, inquiry hears

After the fire: Grenfell Tower.

Lawyers for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire have told the inquiry into the disaster that residents were “bullied” and “stigmatised” for raising safety concerns.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing a group of survivors and the bereaved, said Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council regarded the 24-storey block in North Kensington as an “eyesore which required cosmetic surgery to make it more palatable to its elegant and wealthy neighbours”.

So it provided a refurbishment between 2012 and 2016 that was only a “superficial facelift while neglecting underlying deficiencies”.

The council, along with the body that ran Grenfell Tower and oversaw the refurbishment, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), ran a complaints system for residents that was “outdated, cumbersome, not simple and was used to shut them off, lock them out essentially”, said Mr Mansfield.

He said the council and TMO had a “culture of indifference”.

Edward Daffarn, a member of the Grenfell Action Group, wrote a series of blog posts about safety issues in the building and raised concerns with the council – such as a fire door with a broken closing mechanism.

This was pointed out in 2015 and the door still wasn’t working on the night of the fire in 2017, allowing smoke into a central area on one floor where two people died.

The inquiry heard the council described Mr Daffarn’s blog posts as “scaremongering”.

Another lawyer, Stephanie Barwise QC, read an email from council worker Laura Johnson, sent during the building’s refurbishment, saying that a councillor would not want to attend a public meeting of people “moaning about minor issues”.

In fact residents had correctly identified issues such as gas pipes in hallways, problems with fire doors, power surges, a failed ventilation system and access for fire engines.

London Fire Brigade warned in the months before the fire that cladding could be dangerous. The inquiry heard the council simply forwarded the letter from the fire brigade to the TMO, saying: “FYI.”

James Ageros, lawyer for the TMO, said: “The TMO does not accept that it ever adopted a dismissive attitude toward residents or indeed toward their complaints and concerns.”

He said the inquiry should consider whether the TMO could have been expected to see through the “deceptions” of cladding manufacturers about the safety of their products.

Hundreds of other building owners and management organisations had not been able to “untangle this subterfuge”, he said.

In its submissions, the council apologised for its failings in monitoring the TMO and said “the council could have, and should have, done more to stop it happening”.

It’s a big buck-passing exercise, isn’t it?

The council apologises and says it should have monitored the TMO; the TMO doesn’t apologise and says it could not have been expected to see through “deceptions” by the manufacturers of the cladding.

My opinion? Residents are right to blame them all. The council, at least, has admitted a failing. The TMO should have recognised any false claims by the cladding manufacturers; that’s part of its reason for existing and the council should have realised this wasn’t happening.

And residents were ignored – until they died.

And now, residents at other blocks with similar cladding are being penalised for living in places where the landlord made the wrong decision because the Tory government is ignoring their concerns.

History repeats itself. The UK is run by people who want to take your money and do nothing in return – especially people in government.

We can vote them out – for example at the local elections in May.

But that rarely seems to happen. Why?

Source: Grenfell residents ‘bullied’ for raising safety fears before fire – BBC News

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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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Is Matt Hancock denying care homes Covid-19 tests to deliberately harm residents?

Matt Hancock: he’s all talk and no help.

It seems Matt Hancock doesn’t think care home residents have suffered enough.

Hancock and the Tory government promised regular Covid-19 testing in all UK care homes on June 8.

The testing was considered necessary because residents’ health had been deteriorating after lockdown restrictions meant their relatives were not allowed to visit.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said the government had promised weekly testing for staff, and for residents every 28 days.

But he described the process as having “fragmented”; some care providers had received kits that had never been collected for processing, and others were experiencing long delays due to lack of laboratory capacity.

That’s right – lack of capacity to run tests, at a time when Hancock and his flunkies are telling us they are running hundreds of thousands of tests a week. They’re lying.

And they’re discriminating against care home residents, purely because they are care home residents.

And it is harming the well-being of those residents.

If they were behaving in such a way towards people because of the colour of their skin, that would be racism. If because they were (for example) Jewish, it would be anti-Semitism.

It should be treated as a hate crime.

Source: UK care homes still denied Covid tests despite Hancock pledge, officials warn

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Covid lockdown seems to have been perfect opportunity for Tory cruelty to care home residents

Matt Hancock: he says care home residents are now getting good support, but resident’s representatives say his new guidance lacks clarity and leadership.

It seems people living in care homes were doomed, no matter what happened – the instant the Tories announced the Covid-19 lockdown.

We already know that the government condemned more than 20,000 people to death by sending people with the virus out of hospital and back to their homes, which did not have the facilities to treat them safely.

Now MPs have been told that the lockdown has had a brutal effect, even on healthy residents.

The isolation imposed on them by the Tories has had a devastating effect on their mental health.

They’ve lost weight, the ability to speak, and memory – meaning they aren’t able to recognise relatives after months in isolation.

They are losing the will to live, according to evidence given to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Coronavirus.

It seems the Tories imposed lockdown conditions that turned care homes into the equivalent of prisons, with each inmate – sorry, resident – treated as though they had been thrown into isolation cells.

No risk assessments were carried out to consider the effect this would have, as vital support networks including visits from relatives were cut off.

It seems Health Secretary Matt Hancock cried crocodile tears for the care home residents whose lives he has ruined.

He said new guidance had been published last month, allowing visits by relatives for the first time since the lockdown.

He said it was possible to “carefully and safely” allow visits to care homes, based on “local knowledge and circumstances” for each care home.

Relatives’ and residents’ representatives say these guidelines lack clarity and leadership.

The whole package seems emblematic of the Tory approach to the Covid-19 crisis: say one thing – do another.

Source: Care home residents facing prison-like conditions and ‘losing will to live’ since lockdown, MPs hear | The Independent

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Coronavirus deaths: ‘sorry’ is the hardest word for Hancock

Matt Hancock: he couldn’t even follow his own government advice against spreading the coronavirus and now he is refusing to apologise for failures in containing it.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is refusing to take responsibility for his mistakes – even after being confronted with the evidence.

When Intisar ​Chowdhury, the son of a consultant who died earlier this month, asked the health secretary live on LBC radio whether he regretted not taking his father’s warnings over vital medical kit seriously enough, Hancock repeatedly avoided making an apology.

He said he was saddened by the death of Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, who had warned Boris Johnson about the lack of protective gear for frontline NHS workers, and asked him to secure equipment “urgently” in a social media post.

Pressed to acknowledge that there have been mistakes in handling the virus, especially to Mr Chowdhury (junior) and other families that have lost loved ones as a result of this virus and probably as a result of the government not handling it seriously enough, he evaded.

He said: “I think that it is very important that we’re constantly learning about how to do these things better and I think listening to the voices on the front line is a very, very important part of how we improve.

“Of course this a very complicated logistical effort but I don’t want to play down the enormous efforts of many thousands of people who are working every hour that there is trying to solve the problem.”

Yesterday (April 28) Hancock refused to apologise to relatives of elderly residents who have died of coronavirus in care homes, after figures showed 5,000 such deaths in England alone.

He said during the daily Downing Street briefing that it was “unreasonable” to ask if he would apologise to the families of those who have died.

“Making sure that care homes have the support they need has been absolutely at front of mind right from the start,” he said.

“We’ve been testing in care homes right from the start and right through the crisis.”

If that were true, then why did it take the government until yesterday to provide daily tallies of deaths in care homes, alongside the statistics on hospital fatalities, rather than releasing them on a weekly basis, 10 or 11 days after the event?

If testing was taking place from the start, then the figures would have been available immediately.

It seems that – like the whole Tory government – Mr Hancock is simply trying to avoid responsibility for mistakes, omissions and policies that have caused thousands of needless death. Perhaps he fears the inquiry that must take place after the crisis is over.

Source: Coronavirus: Matt Hancock repeatedly refuses to accept PPE failures after being confronted by dead doctor’s son | The Independent

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