It is nearly four years since the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died and many others lost everything.
The Grenfell inquiry has revealed a shocking tale of greed and incompetence that led to this tragedy. It’s now clear that cladding manufacturers falsified test results to claim their products were safe on high-rise buildings when they were anything but. If there is any justice, then criminal prosecutions should follow.
Penny-pinching by Kensington and Chelsea Council caused the lethal cladding to be installed so they could save £300,000. The cost to that council of Grenfell so far is over £400 million.
The fallout from the Grenfell tragedy has spread across the country and is affecting people here in Ipswich and Suffolk.
Most affected flats in Britain have still not had their dangerous cladding replaced.
Leasehold owners of flats are facing horrendous costs. Although the Government has made some money available for the worst properties it only covers around a third of the estimated cost of putting every affected building right. The rest can be passed on to leaseholders and some have already had bills for over £75,000.
On top of this, until their buildings are made safe, leaseholders are facing massively increased insurance premiums and the costs of so-called “waking watches”. How effective these are was seen in the recent fire at New Providence Wharf where residents were alerted to the fire by a WhatsApp group rather than the waking watch they are paying £47,000 a month for.
Many flat owners are first-time buyers. This should have been their first step on the road to economic security. Instead, they are stuck in a property that is effectively worthless facing bills of thousands of pounds that they can’t afford.
The Government knows all this but has repeatedly instructed Conservative MPs to vote against measures to help leaseholders.
The events leading to the Grenfell fire were a scandal. The way leaseholders have been treated by the Government since Grenfell is just as big a scandal and is still going on.
That is why campaigning groups like Ipswich Cladiators are so necessary. They deserve our support until the Government is forced to back down and gives leaseholders the support they need.