As the anniversary of the Grenfell fire approaches, readers respond to the ongoing inquiry into the disaster that claimed so many lives
Through all the inevitable trauma (‘These people will need help for the rest of our lives’, 9 June), Grenfell survivors have extended their concerns to the safety of other tower blocks. We believe their voice was a major factor in forcing the government, 11 months on, to finally yield to local authorities’ demands and fund replacement of combustible cladding. The estimated £400m central government contribution is a substantial victory, despite being borrowed from the “affordable homes” programme, and despite not being enough to make homes fire safe. But timing is now critical. Works must be started – and finished – by the autumn, if they are not to leave residents in terror of fire for another year, or alternatively leave them in buildings that have been stripped of insulation and left all winter exposed to the elements. Last winter, many residents were freezing, ill and miserable in de-clad homes, and facing astronomical bills. We wrote twice to the secretary of state about these issues but received no reply.
Over 300 buildings, 159 in social housing, need re-cladding. The latest statistics on remediation works show three starts and three completions in the last month, bringing the number of remediated buildings to a grand total of 10. The government’s recent promise does nothing for private leaseholders, student residences, schools, hospitals or other workplaces. But even those due to benefit from it are being put at risk by continuing delays. Thousands already die in cold homes every winter. And fires do happen.