Austerity, inequality and deaths: Robert Peston tells it as it is

“… there is horror that the government never made it obligatory for the fire safety standards that apply to new buildings to be enforced at older blocks – that such improvements are only recommended, not obligatory.

But such lax or light touch regulation only becomes fatal in a system – such as we have – designed to drive down costs and save money, not to put the safety of people first.

It is a system in which those working for all the interconnected bodies that made the refurbishment decisions and gave the wrong safety advice to tenants are able to say – as if that makes it alright – “we followed the rules”.
It is a system in which identifying anyone who can be proved to be ultimately responsible for what happened may be impossible.

And as we saw in the banks before the financial crisis, when people can take reckless decisions safe in the knowledge they can’t be held to account, reckless decisions get taken.

The horrific corollary of a faceless, irresponsible system of public-housing governance is that many of the poor and vulnerable people who died in the fire are not even being given the respect of formal identification as victims – because they live on the fringes of the state, and the authorities seem unable to be confident they even existed, let alone that they have died.

There is a social contract between those of us lucky enough to have voices that are heard and those who don’t that we should not put them in harms way. Grenfell seems the most grotesque breach of that contract in my lifetime. It shames us all.”

Robert Peston, Facebook page

2 thoughts on “Austerity, inequality and deaths: Robert Peston tells it as it is

  1. According to The Times, the increased cost for the fire safe classing would have been £5,000 for the entire block.

    Assuming 100 people die (and it could easily be more) that places the value of a human life under the Tory government at below £50. Well – the value of a council housing tenant towards the bottom of the property ladder anyway.

    The way the current UK government behaves towards the least well off in our society sickens me to the core.


  2. I see that the supplier of the cladding for the Grenfell block has confirmed that it was a “cheaper, more flammable option”.


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