Money no object when lives may be at stake

Peter Stringfellow on the decks at the opening of Syndicate nightclub in Blackpool

CHERYL GIBBS: (ST)RIP to the King of the Clubs

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A year ago the tragedy at Grenfell Tower sent shockwaves through the country, and was particularly alarming for the millions of people who live in tower blocks.

Concern was quickly raised over fire safety, and particularly over cosmetic cladding applied to many such buildings.

In the Portsmouth area cladding was removed or tested from buildings as a safety precaution, including two of the city’s tallest residential tower blocks, Horatia House and Leamington House.

Now it seems removal of that cladding has revealed further horrors, and has brought into question the structural integrity of the buildings.

As the dead of Grenfell were mourned the recriminations began, and politicians were heard to say that, naturally, lessons would be learned, and that such a catastrophe must never be allowed to happen again.

Disappointing to say the least, then, that Portsmouth is having to go cap-in-hand to the government to stump up the cash needed to make safe the homes of around 800 people.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has taken up the cudgels on behalf of his constituents, with the backing of Portsmouth City Council’s housing chief, Cllr Darren Sanders.

Mr Morgan said: ‘It’s really important the government supports people in Portsmouth to make sure they are rehoused in our city.

‘The government has been dragging its heels. We have got a crisis in housing across the country. The government is letting local authorities down.’

This should not turn into an argument over who pays.

When lives may be at stake, the government must fulfill its promies of a year ago.