On 15/2/18 three billboards were paraded through central London . Inspired by the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the protest took the three lorries around London, making significant stops by the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral.
“The Grenfell Tower fire broke out on 14 June 2017 at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, West London. It caused 71 deaths, including one stillbirth, and over 70 injuries. Occupants of 23 of the 129 flats died, but 223 people escaped. Inquests for all 70 victims have been opened and adjourned at Westminster Coroner’s Court.
“The Grenfell Tower Inquiry held its first hearing on 14 September 2017, and evidential hearings started in October. Police and fire services believe the fire started accidentally in a fridge-freezer on the fourth floor. The rapid growth of the fire is thought to have been accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding, which is of a common type in widespread use. An independent review of building regulations and fire safety is in progress….
“…Residents expressed significant safety concerns prior to the fire, with criticism levelled against the council for fire safety and building maintenance failures. They had also said repeatedly that in the event of a fire, their escape path was limited to a single staircase.
“Exposed gas pipes were another concern raised by the Grenfell Tower Leaseholders’ Association in the months before the fire – while a fire safety expert had ordered them to be covered by fire-retardant boxing, two-thirds remained exposed at the time of the fire.
“There is concern that cuts to legal aid prevented tenants and tenants’ groups taking legal action over their safety concerns. Robert Bourns of The Law Society said, “There have been reports that tenants of Grenfell Tower were unable to access legal aid to challenge safety concerns because of the cuts. If that is the case then we may have a very stark example of what limiting legal aid can mean.” Wikipedia
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The fire, the lack of response to warnings by a group of residents about fire safety and the fact that the block stands in one of the richest boroughs of London, that managed to amass a considerable surplus in their finances but failed to invest properly in the less well off areas (it is known that the refurbishment managers opted for a cheaper cladding option without proper fire safety checks, purely on cost grounds), have been highlighted as an example of the deepening inequality being imposed by dehumanising economic policies.
The Grenfell Action Group’s sadly prophetic words describing the Council’s appointed managing agent for the tower, the KCTMO as “evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia” and accusing the council of ignoring health and safety laws. GAG suggested that “only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of [KCTMO]”