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Troublemaker – Tories refuse to pay for work to stop another Grenfell Tower fire

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Issue 2573
Ordinary people organised to help survivors of the Grenfell fire - while the Tories have sat on their hands
Ordinary people organised to help survivors of the Grenfell fire – while the Tories have sat on their hands (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Tories are hampering efforts to prevent a similar tragedy to the Grenfell Tower fire from happening in the future.

They are refusing to provide funding to councils up and down Britain to install fire safety measures.

Housing minister Alok Sharma turned down Nottingham city council’s request for £6 million to install sprinkler systems in its 13 tower blocks.

He claimed the work was “additional not essential”.

Croydon council has also requested £10 million to retrofit sprinkler systems in 26 blocks. The government has yet to respond.

A leaked government document said, “It is likely that undertaking a major programme of repair and replacement of cladding using existing techniques will take years to complete.”

The Tories were quick to respond to the threat of fire at parliament though.

A £118 million budget to install fire safety measures across the parliamentary estate over eight years was approved last week.

And instead of standing up and demanding funding from the Tories, councils are looking elsewhere. In Wandsworth, south west London, the council has said £24 million of fire safety work will come from leaseholders’ service charges at a cost of up to £4,000 per home.

This means that private renters of former council homes could end up footing the bill if the costs are passed on to them.

Four of every ten properties sold under the right to buy scheme begun by Margaret Thatcher and continued by New Labour are now being rented out privately by landlords.

Hundreds of privately-owned tower blocks have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding on them. In Glasgow over 50 privately-owned tower blocks have been found to have ACM.

The Tories have employed the Manufacturing Technology Centre to investigate methods of removing the cladding?and have given them just £250,000 to carry out the work.

Couch potato vermin in ermine have nothing to say

So-called “couch potato peers” are raking in millions of pounds in “expenses”. And the amount they are grabbing is going up.

Over a third of peers spoke in the House of Lords five times or fewer in 2016-17.

Yet the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) found they had claimed over £4 million in expenses.

The total spent on Lords’ allowances and expenses in 2016-17 was £21,777,168.

That’s a 20 percent rise on the figure the year before.

Nearly 4 percent of the 798 peers hadn’t spoken or voted at all.

Yet all can claim an attendance allowance of up to £300 for every day that the House of Lords sits.

Darren Hughes from the ERS said, “There appears to be a growing ‘something for nothing’ culture in our upper House.”

But the Lords hit back saying the “narrow focus on spoken contributions” ignored all the other really vital work they carry out.

Whatever that is.

Posho’s horror at lack of old books in schools

Top public schools, including Eton and Marlborough, have been accused of “shutting children out of their literary heritage” by failing to teach the classics.

Amanda Foreman was “horrified” to discover that her daughter “had not read a single 18th or 19th-century novel” at her private school.

Foreman, who lives in America, has five children—all educated privately in Britain. “Kids are leaving school shut out from their literary heritage,” she said.

“It is so cruel.”

State-educated children study at least one 19th-century novel and a Shakespeare play thanks to Troublemaker regular Michael Gove.

But the iGCSE is popular in private schools as it includes the option to study only modern books.

Universities have to give children “remedial” reading lists said Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

Daily Mail fears ‘feminist dogma’

The Daily Mail ramped up anti-choice rhetoric last week. Its front page last Friday was headlined, “650 doctors rebel over abortion on demand”.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) voted to back the decriminalisation of abortion.

The Mail complained that this would “open the door to terminations ‘for any reason’ way beyond the 24-week limit”.

Why women shouldn’t have the right to control their own bodies wasn’t made clear.

Although a piece headed, “This is about feminist dogma” hinted at the Mail’s reason.

Tories don’t give to charity

Plans to build a memorial to Margaret Thatcher in her Lincolnshire birthplace are in trouble.

The Margaret Thatcher Heritage Centre hoped that a museum would be based in a “modern”and “iconic” new building in Grantham.

Yet accounts lodged at the Charity Commission show the project has so far received only £3,000 in four years. Just over £1,000 has already been spent on marketing and accountants’ fees.

The charity notes sadly, “The main risk to the charity establishing its objects is the ability to raise adequate funding.”

Tory festival flops

The MP behind a Tory festival has admitted it has been a flop. George Freeman organised the right wing glamping trip. 

He conceded his Big Tent Ideas Festival looked “a bit blokey and a bit nerdy.” Talks such as “Causes Of Millennial Disengagement” just didn’t draw the crowds.

Drones foiled by rain

Drones bought for the British Army at a cost of more than £15 million are unable to fly when it rains. The Desert Hawk III drones were bought in 2007. But rainfall blocks key instruments, causing them to crash.

A private firm has been hired to fly other drones during some army exercises because the Desert Hawk drones cannot be relied on.

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