Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1018/28269
Grenfell - no more cover-ups!
Paul Kershaw, chair, Unite union LE/1111 housing workers' branch
An engineering firm hired by the government to test cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire was banned from criticising or embarrassing Theresa May.
The Times reports that that a clause in engineering company WSP's contract with the govern-ment stated that it must not create "adverse publicity" about the cabinet office or other crown bodies, including the prime minister's office.
WSP was hired to test whether government buildings were likely to comply with building regulations, but it seems the top concern was to dodge mounting criticism of the government in the aftermath of the fire.
Them and us
According to Inside Housing (9 November), Dr Bob Docherty, chair of the Institute of Fire Safety Managers, sent an angry email to housing minister James Brokenshire questioning the independence of the government's 'expert' post-Grenfell advisory panel.
In it, Docherty said: "I think you really need to revisit who is on your 'independent expert advisory panel' and maybe take advice from the experts who are 'out there' working in the field, either through contacts with individuals, professional bodies or the Fire Sector Federation.
"Does no one in your department check with the real industry before these notes go out? I just find the whole content of the note and the process of issue totally bemusing."
The Guardian leaked a report (12 October) that showed that contrary to assurances given in the aftermath of the fire 'huge concentrations' of toxins have been found in dust and soil in an area two-thirds of a mile from the tower.
In the aftermath of the fire the Information Commissioner recommended that Housing Associations - which manage the majority of UK social housing - should proactively make fire risk assessments available to residents.
But many are still dragging their feet on this. At a recent meeting of the London Assembly housing committee they told incredulous members they didn't show them to residents because they wouldn't understand them!
Shac, a campaign linking housing association residents supports residents demanding to see fire risks assessments and has produced a standard letter
In The Socialist 14 November 2018:
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