Analysis comment

On 3rd anniversary of Grenfell tragedy, thousands still living with same cladding – and not a single conviction for the deaths it caused

The horrific and completely avoidable Grenfell Tower blaze

Today is the third anniversary of the horrific Grenfell Tower that took 72 lives – although many local people still believe it took far more – and the government has still not taken the actions required to ensure that such a disaster never takes place again.

Theresa May’s promise to rehome survivors within weeks took years and the Tories buried any other meaningful action under a meandering enquiry that has lasted so long it was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. But it is not merely slowness to act – in 2018 the Tories quietly decided not to ban flammable cladding from use on residential buildings, leaving thousands of families still living with its continual deadly danger.

In fact, the only changes the Tories – who have unforgivably tried to shift blame for the Grenfell deaths onto firefighters – made to fire safety regulations in the wake of the Grenfell fire made them worse, according to the leading fire safety expert who was begging the authorities to ban and remove cladding three years before the blaze took place.

The consequences of those decisions were at least one further, luckily less deadly, cladding fire in a residential block.

Union Unite has been at the forefront of supporting survivors and the families of those killed in the blaze. At the beginning of this year, inquiry panelling Benita Mehra stepped down after it was revealed that an organisation she ran had received more than £70,000 from the firm that installed the cladding on the tower.

Although the media ignored the fact entirely, a key factor in Mehra’s withdrawal was Unite’s threat of a judicial review if she did not step down – and Unite’s assistant general secretary for legal affairs, Howard Beckett, has marked this third anniversary with a summary of the continuing that has been largely ignored by the media:

Yet again, it is unions standing up for the people while the Establishment ignores their hardships and risks.

As always, the SKWAWKBOX stands in solidarity with the people of Grenfell and demands action, not just lip service, from the government to give them justice and to ensure that such a needless tragedy never happens again.

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  1. And that’s it in a nutshell
    Until those responsible go to gaol, lose everything, nothing will change
    There is no ‘Moral Hazard for these people

  2. In the final year before Grenfell the Tory housing minister received seven letters from the group of MPs responsible for scrutinising fire safety rules in council blocks, the last landing just 26 days before the inferno. Each of them advised instituting fire-safety measures that would have prevented the Grenfell disaster. The minister ignored all of them.

    That individual was Gavin Barwell, who was appointed and boldly retained by Theresa May as her chief advisor for the remainder of her time in Downing Street. That this was never seen as remotely insensitive/ controversial tells you everything you need to know about the sincerity of Tory and media reaction to the Grenfell Tower disaster.


    Footnote: Theresa May subsequently awarded Gavin Barwell a life peerage.

  3. It’s symbolic of this dysfunctional Govt that the urgent issue of ridding high rises of dangerous cladding is not happening largely because the owners of the blocks don’t want to spend the money any more than Johnson. So 23,000 live in fear while self isolating. They either don’t give a bugger or can’t work out how to do it. Or both.

  4. The other factor to consider is why was cladding put on these buildings in the first place? Because of the massive taxpayer subsidies that were given to big companies to do anything that sounded as if it might make buildings more (marginally) energy efficient in order to assuage the climate change zealots irrespective of the collateral risks from fire, damp, mould and disease that stopping normal ventilation in high rise buildings causes as well as horrific fire catastrophies.

    1. You silly prat.Grenfell tower had the cladding put in place to “beautify” it for all those well of people living around it.

      1. Seconded ,, all those in favour AYE , motion carried PC is a PRAT !

      2. The planning application for cladding requested it be allowed on the grounds of heat insulation and energy efficiency and said that the cladding chosen would not be detrimental to, but would enhance the appearance of the building. You guys can’t manage a discussion without getting hysterical, no wonder the far left is looked upon as such a rabble by ordinary working class voters. you don’t like evidence, you don’t like facts, you love to live in the bubble where Jeremy is still going to be PM. Calm down, grow up, get real.

  5. 3rd Anniversary of Grenfell & who would know? MSM care so little about this injustice that it is perpetually left on a back burner, but this should be headline news every day day until justice is done. Eventually we will forget about it & it will just go away……nothing will change, no prosecutions. if we really believe that ‘Poor People’s Lives Matter’, use this as just one more example of how ‘The System’ fails to serve the needs of the poor.

  6. We all predicted the aftermath of Grenfell would be exactly like this though, didn’t we?
    Tories managing the media, setting up yet another ‘inquiry’ as a delaying tactic and nobody being held accountable because blame falling on individuals in corporations, regulatory bodies or government scares them shitless.
    Their attitude is that governance is so supremely difficult it wouldn’t be fair to make them personally responsible for their mistakes – conveniently ignoring the fact that capitalism claims the just deserts of success or failure as its founding principle.
    The lesson of the Summerland fire in 1973, where the outer skin of the building was inflammable clear acrylic called ‘Oroglas’, was either never learned or was forgotten – that’s what happens when inquiries are used to delay decisions that should have been obvious from the news footage of both disasters – ban use of flammable materials on the outside of buildings except in small, isolated areas.

    1. I’ve not thought of the Summerland fire for years. You are absolutely right.

  7. Laminar Sabin and the Peoples Press highlight this awful Government’s failings on this. Grenfell campaigners, firefighters and Labour blast government’s inaction for justice and fire safety over last three years.

    Privatisation, profit-maximisation and failure to impose effective regulations continues. 72 dead at Grendel and yet over 300 buildings are still covered with the same cladding that caused the Grendel tragedy.

    Mark Wrack, gen sec of the newly-affiliated Fire Brigade Union said:
    ““It was decades of deregulation, privatisation and austerity that allowed Grenfell to take place,”

  8. And nobody even mentioned the Cancer causing insulation in the construction industry We all new about asbestos used in construction but only after thousands of victims.I remember in the early sixties mixing the powered form to insulate pipes and boilers,and at the end of the day as a young apprentice boarding a bus in overhauls covered in the stuff.Lofts and brick cavity construction on the list to be criminally negligent and ignored.Doesnt mater who’s in government when it comes to cheap and nasty building when its working class.I doubt there will be much cheap and nasty in Canary wharf?except for the banksters that own it.

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