Flammable cladding, BAME vaccinations and safe drinking

Twenty care homes in Redbridge failed fire safety inspections which were carried out after the Grenf

It is three and a half years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Make these homes safe

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, writes:

Grenfell was a tragedy so horrific, so devastating and so avoidable, that I think we all thought that any government would do whatever it takes to get rid of the flammable cladding that caused it.

Far from doing whatever it takes, this government has done whatever it felt it could get away with. Nearly four years on from Grenfell, from West Hampstead Square to South Kilburn and all over our constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn, people are still living in flammable buildings.

In parliament this week, I spoke in Labour’s opposition day debate about the cladding crisis, where I shared the plight of many of my constituents who have been living in fear of a fire engulfing their dangerously cladded building for many years now. Work to remove unsafe cladding hasn’t even begun on many blocks, and some require 24/7 “waking watch” patrols to check for fires.

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Worst of all, it is the residents of these buildings who have been forced to bear the costs of measures like ‘waking watches’ and even the cladding replacement. On top of all the stress of living in an unsafe building, the leaseholders are facing crippling fees and are unable even to sell their homes.

Meanwhile, the developers and other companies which installed this cladding in the first place have largely been allowed to get away scot-free. 

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This is a travesty. I’m calling on ministers act now to make these buildings safe and shield leaseholders from the costs. Anything less is unforgiveable.

Save lives

Cllr Khaled Noor, Muslim Professionals Forum chair, writes:

People from the black and ethnic minority (BAME) community feature high in the coronavirus statistics: we are disproportionately more likely to become infected and to die; and we are more likely to be on the front line, risking our lives to help others.

We mourn each and every death from our diverse communities. We pray for those whose lives have been cut short and we send our condolences to every bereaved and grieving family. As the virus continues to take lives, we urge everyone to follow the lockdown guidelines.

Stay home; observe social distancing; wear a mask – and encourage everyone to have a vaccination when they are invited.

All year round

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive, Alcohol Change UK (the charity behind Dry January), writes: 

In December we estimated that 6.5 million people would be taking part in Dry January – then the third national lockdown was announced, and almost immediately we began to see people saying that Dry January was “cancelled”. Yet what we saw, in fact, was a further surge in people downloading the official app, Try Dry. Downloads this year have been a huge 35 per cent higher than last. 

Research has shown that seven in 10 people who do Dry January with our support are still drinking less six months later. So whether you used Dry January to bust lockdown drinking habits, kickstart cutting down, or test out going alcohol-free longer-term, February 1 isn’t the end – it’s the start of healthier, happier drinking habits year-round.

The Alcohol Change UK website offers information and advice for managing your drinking all year round – alcoholchange.org.uk

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