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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 February 2021
Tory cladding money will not make us safe
The Grenfell Tower blaze has killed many and destroyed the homes of many more, photo @Natalie_Oxford (Twitter) (Click to enlarge)
Jack Jeffrey, Secretary Unite housing workers
Despite the horrific scenes at Grenfell almost four years ago, around 700,000 people in the UK are still living in buildings fitted with combustible cladding. The government has announced £3.5 billion to fix dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings.
This falls far short of what is needed. Parliament's own fire-safety committee estimated the removal cost to be around £15 billion.
This fund is restricted to buildings of at least 18 metres, typically six storeys. It would not cover buildings between four and six storeys, such as Samuel Garside House in Barking, which burnt down in 2019 after wooden cladding allowed a fire to spread across the whole block.
Those residents would be expected to contribute towards costs. Residents in buildings below four storeys would not be covered at all.
This fund can also only be used to replace and refurbish cladding, despite a key factor in Grenfell being the lack of fire safety measures, such as sprinklers. It will also do nothing to ensure properties are habitable.
The English Housing Survey revealed that 17% of households, 4.1 million people, live in properties classed as 'non-decent'. Although your property may not burn down, it may still be damp, overcrowded and unliveable.
Large housebuilder Taylor Wimpey, for example, estimates profits of over £650 million this year. So you would expect extra taxation on big housebuilders to easily cover the cost of this fund.
However, a new levy on developers will only contribute £2 billion over ten years. The rest will come from general taxation.
Why should ordinary people, who have been forced to live in unsuitable and dangerous accommodation, be forced to subsidise the cost-cutting of developers earning huge profits?
Living in safe housing should be a right, not the ability to make money from it. Despite being a thriving industry with huge profits, capitalism seems completely unable to provide decent affordable homes for working people.
Only by taking housebuilding out of private hands, and into public ownership, can we provide safe accommodation for all.
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In The Socialist 17 February 2021:
Tory consultation on home-use abortion pills
Tory cladding money will not make us safe
Sham inquiry into 'progressive extremism' will not stop movements against capitalism
Cumbria mine: How can we fight for jobs and stop climate change?
Cryptocurrency bubble: Insanity of capitalism
News in brief
Online workers' rally: Taking fight to the bosses
SNP's independence referendum 2 'roadmap'
NHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies
Boot private companies out of our NHS
Covid workplace safety
Derby Toyota plant Covid crisis
Hackney teaching assistants strike against cruel and unnecessary job cuts
PCS: Reject the HMRC pay deal
Manchester Go North West bus drivers in all-out strike over fire and rehire dispute
London bus drivers set to strike over pay and conditions
Scaffolders' strike continues
Strike back for free education
Socialist Students conference - Sunday 28 February
Socialist Party Black and Asian caucus
Remembering Mohamud Hassan - continuing the fight against police brutality
How you can amplify the Socialist's voice - Help us build subscriptions to the Socialist
Swarming the London Mayor's question time
Southern new members meeting - a vivid illustration of the appetite for socialist ideas
Doing all we can to fund the anti-cuts stand at the ballot box
Film Review: Dear Comrades!
The Socialist Inbox
The Socialist 17 February 2021 |
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