The Grenfell inquiry made it clear that private companies, not residents, should pay to make high-rise towers safe
For the 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire four years ago, the cladding scandal was fatal. For thousands more, it is becoming a nightmare. The government is removing the deadly cladding from some 500 of the most at-risk towers, but beyond that, the residents of an estimated 1,500 high-rise buildings in England considered unsafe – and therefore unsellable, unmortgageable and uninsurable – are on their own, in a perilous financial position. The housing minister, Robert Jenrick, has told them to sue the builders if they can afford it. The taxpayer – by which he means his department – will not bear the cost.
Anyone following the four-year-old Grenfell inquiry will be aghast at the laxity a regulation-obsessed government has shown towards high-rise buildings. Six separate private companies and a maze of Whitehall regulators have passed the blame for Grenfell back and forth, day by day, in an inquiry that has cost £117m in public money – and counting.