Yesterday, I attended a memorial service to mark the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire that tragically claimed 72 lives. This moving ceremony was organised by Grenfell United, a group of survivors and bereaved families who are campaigning for justice and change.
The devastating fire that quickly spread throughout the ageing and unsafe Grenfell Tower in June 2017 brought into stark relief the dangers of de-regulation and under-investment in council housing.
Yet, two years on from the tragedy, there are 24,800 homes in high-rise blocks that are still covered in Grenfell-style cladding. Ministers have admitted that this cladding is “unlikely to meet building regulations” but the Government has been slow to provide the funds necessary to remove it.
If this wasn’t bad enough, at a time when thousands of people are worried that their homes are unsafe, the Government has decided to cut funding for fire services by 15% in 2019. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home but, with these cuts, the Government has shown a complete disregard for public safety.
Over the past two years, I’ve pushed for a thorough inquiry into the disaster that is receptive to the needs and wishes of survivors and bereaved families. However, these victims have been left angry and in limbo after being told that a report into the disaster has been delayed until October.
The Government should be doing all it can to prevent similar disasters from occurring but the Tories’ inaction over cladding, their reckless cuts to fire services, and their failure to listen to victims are putting more lives at risk.