Grenfell Tower

Granville Community Centre,  Granville Community Kitchen and The Otherwise Club members and supporters are all devastated by the fire and know that it has huge implications for all of us but don’t know what they are or how to move forward.

We started taking donations at 3pm last Thursday and we weer full by 8pm that day. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of  stuff, time and work to help others that we have seen and we are far from the core of the work being done..

We have community in London.

We found these 2 writings about the event that say something of what we would like to say.  We share them with you here in hopes that they speak to you too.

From Elli  Kontorravdis, Policy and campaign Manager,  Scotland

Can we just get a few things straight – the Grenfell Tower fire was not just a terrible accident, it was an inevitable consequence of Conservative government policy, rooted in structural racism.

The Conservatives voted down amendments to legislation that sought to make buildings like Grenfell quite literally ‘fit for human habitation’. You should know that one of those Conservatives is now the Police & Fire Minister and is 1 of 72 Conservative MPs who are also residential landlords.

Instead of being mandated to provide basic safety infrastructure, like sprinklers or fire escapes, which residents of Grenfell had been demanding for years, the building managers focused their attention on the external appearance, spending nearly £9mn – including installing cladding which is believed to have perversely made the Tower more flammable – the cavity between the cladding and building acting as a chimney.

The 600 residents of Grenfell Tower, were low income and largely BAME.

Our thoughts must be with the families and communities that were knowingly failed, and the firefighters & healthcare professionals doing their best to respond – despite also having been all but dismantled by the Conservatives.

Can we trust the Conservatives to negotiate the most significant constitutional and legal reform in living memory?’

 

From Payl Watt, Reader in Urban Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

We built buildings in the 70s, those 70s buildings – many of them should be demolished.” 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tower-fire-corporate-manslaughter-arrests-david-lammy-mp-labour-london-kensington-a7790911.html

I was interviewed yesterday evening by a journalist who began with the question ‘aren’t these tower blocks terrible because the people living in them are all poor?’ – ergo knock em’ down in order to ‘help’ the poor people by taking em’ out of ‘their’ slums.

 Instead it’s really a problem caused by lack of money (long-term under-investment coupled with shorter-term austerity cuts and penny pinching), coupled with abuse of power since council estate tenants/residents are routinely not listened to and treated with disrespect by local politicians and housing officials.

 It’s astounding – and should be a cause of great concern on the part of council housing residents and great shame on the part of politicians – that 17 years after New Labour’s Decent Homes programme began in 2000 and was due to be completed by 2010 in which all social rental homes had to be able to meet certain minimum standards (which weren’t even that generous), there is still a hefty Decent Homes backlog nationally, especially in London.

The latest available data (2015-16) shows that nearly 80,000 local authority homes in England and nearly 40,000 in London failed to meet Decent Homes standards (latest data on Data on Decent Homes attached). This includes 746 LA homes in RBKC. Decent Homes includes Health and safety standards for rented homes (HHSRS – introduced 2004 Housing Act) which themselves include fire risks.  See here:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/what_counts_as_a_decent_home

 It’s absolutely crucial that this terrible event is not turned into yet ANOther excuse for demolition/social cleansing of estates by the political elite who are the ones responsible for the long-term problems that council estate tenants/residents face.

 

 

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