The Grenfell Towers fire was one of the most deadly fires in modern British history, killing at least 72 people, with no way to know how many more may have died.
The fire was particularly vicious because the building had been sheathed in an extremly flammable cladding, in part because residents of nearby luxury flats felt the poorly maintained facade was an eyesore.
Now, leaked documents reveal that the original plan had been to clad the building in fireproof materials, but that the Conservative councillors from Kensington and Chelsea (whose financial footing was "robust") rejected that proposal in order to save £200,000 on a total bill of £3.5 million.
There was sustained pressure from the council to cut costs on the project despite the authority being in “robust” financial health, according to accounts for 2014. It had £235m in usable reserves and had underspent its budget for services by £23m.
The council had originally only wanted to spend £6m on Grenfell, but later set the budget at £9.7m when it realised it also needed to replace the heating system. In July 2013, however, the council’s housing committee reported that Leadbitter, which was interested in the nonflammable cladding, was on course to spend £11.3m and so it put the contract out to tender and launched a cost-cutting programme which it called “value engineering”.
The following summer, with Rydon on board, the council’s tenants management organisation emailed the project team: “We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen [deputy leader in charge of housing].” At that point £300,000 was removed from the cladding budget and zinc panels were replaced with the aluminium composite material with the plastic core.
Grenfell Tower: fire-resistant cladding plan was dropped
[Robert Booth/The Guardian]
(via Naked Capitalism)
There's not really any dispute that the UK Liberal Democrats party sold voter data for £100,000 to the Remain campaign in 2016, though the Information Commissioner's Office tried to suppress that revelation until after the coming election; the Libdems say they did nothing wrong, but when Opendemocracy's Jim Cusick approached the party for a statement […]
For many years, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a newspaper columnist for the Telegraph, where he espoused some of the most reactionary, disqualifying garbage ever published by a mainstream UK publication, a trend that continued after he began his political career. Business Insider has rounded up a "greatest hits" reel of Bojo's most disgusting […]
For more than a decade, Britons have relied on Mysociety's Theyworkforyou to find out who represents them in Parliament (as well as the regional assemblies), find out what those people are doing and saying, and to get in touch with their lawmakers and their fellow constituents to hold them to account.
When the SNES launched back in the early 1990s, it changed gaming forever. One of the innovations was a gamepad with four action buttons — something that has remained a constant on controllers ever since. The 8BitDo SN30 Bluetooth Gamepad brings that iconic design up to date, with Bluetooth connectivity and support for multiple platforms. […]
After a long day at work, cooking a meal from scratch can seem like too much trouble. Unfortunately, the alternative is usually something unhealthy. Enter the Mellow Sous Vide Precision Cooker. This compact water bath uses cutting-edge technology to cook meat and veggies at the perfect temperature for exactly the right amount of time. It […]
In the course of any day, we encounter many different audio environments. If you are wearing earbuds, the ambient noise level can affect your listening experience. The HUB wireless earbuds adapt to different surroundings using smart noise-cancellation technology. They can either block out distractions or enhance conversations. They are normally priced at $250, but you […]