Almost a week on from the devastating fire at #Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London. The affects are being felt across the community and within communities like them. But what do we know so far? The authority’s movements within the building are going to be limited because the damage will have weakened the structure, meaning there are safety concerns that the building could collapse.

Transport for London have kept services between Wood Lane and Edgware Road suspended until 14.00 today. This is over concerns to the structural integrity of Grenfell #Tower; further announcements will be made over the course of the investigation.

Advertisements
Advertisements

An inquiry and protests begin

Theresa May has called for a public inquiry but this is not good enough for because what is needed is a full-blown public inquest. A public inquiry is run by the #Government and the government oversees the results, with May stating that she is the person who is overseeing this inquiry. Except this won’t inspire confidence and with the public already angry, full transparency is necessary and if it is like the expenses investigation, which the Conservatives hindered wherever they could, it would destroy the public’s confidence in the government even more. However, if it was an inquest, this would be fully independent from the government and headed by the correct authorities. The results of the inquiry may not be seen for years.

Protests have already broken out in Kensington with the council being the target for those protests, more are expected Monday.

Advertisements

This fire represents failures in austerity and highlight what cutting corners and local authority’s budgets can do. According to the Emergency and Disaster Information Service, the fire has affected 650 people living in the building, with 65 rescued, 30 injured and 58 deaths. But what of the unaccounted 497 people? This raises concerns over overcrowding in a building that wasn’t designed for that amount of people and how many people has this killed that have yet to be confirmed or even found? Will some people ever be found?

Lessons not learned

In 2009, Lakanal House tower block caught fire and killed 6 people. The coroner’s report made recommendations on how to improve fire safety, the government responded in 2013 with a letter from Eric Pickles stating they would review certain procedures. With Gavin Barwell, then Housing Minister, reiterating last year that they plan to do something but nothing materialised. Also in the reply from Mr Pickles he said “residential high-rise buildings be required to provide relevant information for operational purposes in premises information boxes. However, on balance we consider that a regulatory requirement is unnecessary and disproportionate.” Furthermore, in February this year Southwark council pleaded guilty to breaking fire regulations.

Advertisements

Plus, residents complained to the Conservative run council run council that there were significant flaws with regards to fire safety but were repeatedly ignored and told that they were wrong. That £8.6 million external refurbishment, was largely spent on aluminium cladding, that has been attributed to exacerbating fires on buildings in the UAE, France and Australia. It is also banned in the US and Germany. It was Boris Johnson as Mayor of London who oversaw the development and who significantly cut the London Fire Brigade. The police have now opened a criminal investigation over the fire, with regards to that cladding.

312 Tory MPs voted down a bill that forces landlords to make rental properties habitual for humans. That's the state we are in, laws must be made (or attempted) so that people make a living space habitual for other humans, they don't do it out of choice. That's the systemic issue, government isn't a business but the lives of people. To summarise, they have had since Lakanal House tower fire in 2009, the report crossed over to the ConDem government in 2010. Enough time to do something, there has been enough enquiries into fires like these in the past but there has been significant inaction from them.