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Grenfell’s lessons have not been learnt

Leon Neal/Getty Images

Four years ago this week, Grenfell Tower went up in flames, says Stephen Bush in the New Statesman’s podcast. Seventy-two people died in the deadliest domestic fire since the Blitz. But more than a million people in Britain still live in buildings with flammable cladding or other fire safety problems.

On 7 May, an east London tower block with Grenfell-style cladding caught fire. A man who barely escaped from the 14th floor said he was “baffled” that he, his wife and their three small daughters had to contend with this problem four years on. The government’s proposal to remove cladding only on buildings taller than 18 metres, isn’t enough.

Owners of the affected flats are trapped. No one will buy their homes and the refurbishing costs are often prohibitive. A political crisis is brewing over this, as all kinds of people – not just Labour voters in social housing – realise that their ability to sell their home or get a mortgage is in jeopardy. The Bank of England is even debating whether the scandal could cause another financial crisis by dragging down property prices.

Listen to the podcast here.