Grenfell Tower Incinerated

7 months ago Ricardo Hylton 0

The incineration of Grenfell Tower on June 14, the deadliest fire in Britain in more than a century, is now a national tragedy. The London police on Friday blamed flammable materials used in the facade for the spread of the blaze and said the investigation could bring charges of manslaughter. Hundreds of families were evacuated from five high-rises that posed similar risks.

The fire at Grenfell Tower has highlighted a number of issues relating to government housing policy in recent years, not only the failure to apply proper safety measures but also its whole approach to social housing.

The Grenfell Tower fire and tragic loss of life can be viewed as an extreme element in the demonisation of social tenants that has been going on since 2010. They have been portrayed as part of the Tories’ “skivers” group, who need targeted welfare cuts (think the bedroom tax) to keep them keen. And London has seen extensive social cleansing as a result of government policy, with tens of thousands of social tenants being forced to relocate to the capital’s outer fringes or to northern cities (See Brixton).

Funding for social housing is now just 5% of what it was in 2010, with money reallocated to build “affordable-rent” homes and to help in various forms of low-cost home ownership. And the social housing sector has seen centrally imposed rent cuts to force social landlords to reduce community investment and services, while they consider a more commercial future.

Meanwhile, social tenants have been largely excluded from management and control of their housing, with active tenant involvement replaced with consumerist “scrutiny panels” and toothless “co-regulation”.

Read this for our full analysis of the fire and its ramifications.