Two years on from the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 72 people, Tory hypocrisy seemingly knows no bounds.
The Tories are finally to fund the removal of cladding from privately owned residential high rise blocks to the tune of £200 million.
Scandalously, the money is not a new fund.
It will come from the existing Department for Communities and Local Government budget. That means cuts elsewhere.
Without irony, housing minister James Brokenshire attacked private block owners for dragging their feet over their response to the fire.
“I am now calling time on the delay tactics of others,” he said. “If these reckless building owners won’t act, the government will.”
This is exactly what building owners wanted—for the government to foot the bill.
And for the Tories to lecture on “delay tactics” is the height of hypocrisy. Almost two years on from the fire and residential blocks are yet to be made safe.
The Tories’ figure of £200 million is to fund the removal of cladding from 166 private residential blocks.
“What about social housing, hospitals and schools with flammable cladding?” asked Moyra Samuels from the Justice4Grenfell campaign group.
“The Tories keep making promises in one area and taking away in another.”
There are 29 student accommodation blocks and 31 hotels which have yet to have remedial work started on them, and are not mentioned by Brokenshire.
The kind of cladding used on Grenfell—is just one among a swathe of flammable cladding treatments. Local authorities are footing the bill for removing these types of cladding with little or no help from the government.
There is not even a test for other types of cladding yet.
In response to questions in parliament Brokenshire said, “As a condition of the funding, we will stipulate that building owners pursue warranty and insurance claims against those responsible for putting unsafe ACM cladding on these buildings.”
Once more ordinary people have been left in fear while those responsible are not even slapped on the wrists.
Moyra said, “There’s no real accountability about why this regulatory framework allowed these types of cladding to be used in the first place. Who is going to face the music for that?
“The Tories are guilty for creating the system that made Grenfell an inevitability.”
Bereaved families speak out
The campaigning organisation INQUEST released a report earlier this week that puts the experience of bereaved families centre stage.
The report details how they have been abandoned by the council and the government.
One person pointed out, “Children have been totally forgotten, they need support at school psychologically for the long term impact.”
There is deep and justified suspicion that the inquiry is an establishment stitch-up and concerns at how bereaved people from outside Britain have been treated.
One relative testified, “I had to come from Egypt. I was totally lost. I didn’t have any support.”