One year on from the Grenfell fire

One year on from the Grenfell fire

It is scandalous that politicians are whittling down public housing budgets and failing to take action to keep residents safe.

Letter, June 13th 2018:

A year ago we witnessed Britain’s deadliest fire in living memory. The morning after, we learned that warnings about fire safety from residents had been ignored. Later we heard about the safety failures at national and local level, and companies hawking unsafe building materials unchecked.

After Grenfell, many argued that the atrocity should signal a turning point in housing policy. We have yet to see this turning point. We hear that cladding like that used at Grenfell will not be banned. Indeed, it took 11 months for Theresa May to commit £400m to remove existing cladding from tower blocks. Even this modest and long overdue announcement was revealed as a sham: the £400m was to be pinched from affordable housing budgets. It is scandalous that a year on from this tragedy, politicians are whittling down public housing budgets and failing to take action to keep residents safe.

This political disregard for social tenants is rooted in state disinvestment from public housing, and unaccountable private interests taking over the building and management of social housing. Our estates are being run down and demolished while public assets are sold off. Meanwhile 80% of new homes built in London are affordable only to the richest 8% of the city.

The mayor of London is to enforce ballots on some estates facing “regeneration”. This is a start – but we need political will at all levels to ensure that development benefits tenants first, and that what gets built locally meets local needs.

A tragedy like Grenfell must never happen again. We need public investment in safe, decent public housing that is affordable for everyone. We want a housing system where tenants are listened to. And we need housing policy driven by public interest, not by the market.

Katya Nasim, Radical Housing Network
Dr Faiza Shaheen, Director of CLASS
Doug Thorpe, Stop HDV Campaign
Emma Dent Coad, Labour MP for Kensington
Sian Berry, Green party London assembly member
Piers and Tanya Thompson, Save Our Silchester
Richard Chute, Chair, Earls Court Tenants’ Association
Joe Beswick, Head of Housing and Land, New Economics Foundation
Eileen Short, Chair, Defend Council Housing
Pilgrim Tucker, Community Organiser
Dawn Foster, Journalist
Cllr Jonathan Bartley, Co-leader, Green party
Jean Lambert, Green party MEP for London
Susan Pashkoff, Chair, East London Unite Community
Martin Goodsell, Secretary, East London Unite Community
Rachael Hookaway, GMB Young London
Danny Dorling, Author of All that is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster, University of Oxford
Anna Minton, Author of Big Capital: Who is London for?, Reader in Architecture, University of East London
Dr David Madden, Author of In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis, London School of Economics
Samir Jeraj, Author of The Rent Trap
Dr Sally Zlotowitz, Clinical and community psychologist, Housing and Mental Health Network
Sabtir Singh, Chief executive, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Sahaya Guthrie, Stop the Elephant Development
Danielle Gregory and Hannan Majid, Ledbury Action Group
Pauline Wamunyu, Save Reginald House and Tidemill
Jacqueline Utley Achilles, Stop and Listen Campaign
Lucy Butler, Deptford People Project
Heather Gilmore, No Social Cleansing in Lewisham
Luciana Duailibe, Chair, Co-oPepys Community Arts Project
Bill Perry, Lambeth Housing Activists
Potent Whisper, Our Brixton
Amina Gichinga, London Renters Union
Anne Cooper, Save Cressingham Campaign
Andy Thornes, Crossfields Residents Association Secretary
Anuj Vats Citiscape, Residents Association
Aysen Dennis, Fight 4 Aylesbury
Simon Hannah and Ruth Cashman, Joint branch secretaries, Lambeth Unison
Sonia Mckenzie, Chair of the Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers Tenants and Residents Association
Terry Harper, Millbank Residents Association
Uzoamaka Okafor, Chair, Myatts Field North Residents Association and PFI Monitoring Board
Dr Vickie Cooper, Open University
Dr Debbie Humphry, Kingston University
Dr Stuart Hodkinson, University of Leeds
Dr Nicholas Falk, Urbed Trust
Michael Edwards, Hon professor, UCL (Bartlett School of Planning)
Ben Beach, Concrete Action
John Hamilton, Lewisham People Before Profit
Heather Kennedy, Digs (Hackney Renters)
Sophie Morley, Architecture Sans Frontières UK
Tom Wilkinson, Architectural Review
Hannah Sheerin, President, Cambridge University Architecture Society
Liza Fior, MUF architecture/art
Douglas Murphy, Writer, RCA/CSM
Elizabeth Wilbraham, Workers Inquiry: Architecture (Architectural Workers Union)
Charlotte Grace, Novara Media
Andrea Luka Zimmerman and David Roberts, Film directors of The Estate We’re In
Paul Sng, Film director of Dispossession

PDF and Guardian Newspaper Link

Grenfell Tower, North Kensington 2017/2018