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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2021

Cladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again

Grenfell Tower, photo James Ivens

Grenfell Tower, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party member Paul Kershaw, chair of the Unite housing workers' branch, spoke to Ed Spencer. Ed has been campaigning to get his housing association, One Housing, to provide decent services since before the cladding scandal emerged.

MPs have now rejected attempts to protect leaseholders from post-Grenfell fire safety bills on five occasions. Thousands of leaseholders face crippling bills of up to £100,000 to make their properties safe, and many are paying weekly bills for fire watches.

Boris Johnson had pledged that leaseholders would not pay for safety issues that were no fault of their own but, as expected, this pledge has proved worthless.

Ed is concerned that there is a real risk that residents will be driven to suicide.

He believes government proposals will be simply unaffordable, particularly after residents have been furloughed or lost their jobs. Some may be able to borrow from family or friends, but not all.

Many have suffered bereavement and distress during the pandemic, and others cannot sleep because they are aware of the fire risk to their property. Ed believes the real solution would be to buy back the shared ownership properties, releasing residents from mortgage prison.

Flats should be made safe and used for genuine social-rent housing. Ed points out that the big building companies responsible are big donors to the Tory party.

The Tories have received more than £11 million from property developers since Boris Johnson became prime minister. But Ed also says that the process of dodgy deals and deregulation carried on when Labour was in office.

In the same week that MPs rejected help for leaseholders, around 40 firefighters and six engines were called to a blaze at Crystal Court in Croydon, south London. Residents and neighbours were evacuated as fire tore through the cladding on the block.

The housing association that owns the block, Orbit Group, reportedly refused to reveal what cladding system was used. This is a reminder that lives continue to be at risk, and lessons of Grenfell and previous fires have not been acted on.

See also 'Bellway must pay! Make our homes safe!'

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In The Socialist 5 May 2021:


What we think

Capitalist sleaze and cronyism


Union elections

Unite general secretary election nomination stage

Unison: We need a fighting, democratic, member-led union to stop the austerity attacks

Four Socialist Party members elected to NEU executive - a thirst for action and a fighting leadership


International news

Biden's policies will not solve underlying US crisis

Colombia: Mass trade union-led protests force tax retreat


Mental health

Covid, capitalism and mental health


News

Fight the rotten establishment

Hands off our NHS

New law ignores economic barriers to escaping domestic abuse

Cladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again


Workplace news

St Mungo's strikers fight on

Goodlord strike forces talks - solidarity needed

Sparks block Cardiff building site against deskilling

Vote 'yes' in the PCS DWP ballot

Beal High School strike against sick policy resumes

Go Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers

Metroline buses to face summer of strikes unless it drops 'remote sign-on'


Local government

Can the 'Preston model' beat the cuts?


Campaigns news

Bellway must pay! Make our homes safe!

Police attempt to intimidate Newcastle protesters

Nottingham NHS pay protest

Establishing factory sales of the Socialist in Leicester

Plaque dedicated to Tony Mulhearn

Why you should join the Socialist Party

Defend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Housing:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The housing crisis

triangleTories concede under cladding pressure but don't go far enough

triangleNana's eviction: Community vs heartless Labour council

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Tories:

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Fire:

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MPs:

triangleTory sleaze scandal continues, an ex-workers' MP responds

triangleLondon MPs' second home swindle while workers and students struggle

Boris Johnson:

triangleShameless Johnson partied through lockdown

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