British austerity wrecks fire safety


This video from London, England says about itself:

Grenfell tragedy exposes differences in local fire responseBBC Newsnight

14 July 2017

Newsnight’s James Clayton reveals that most UK fire services would have immediately sent a high ladder to Grenfell Tower had the fire happened in their area.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

FIRE SAFETY IS A ‘POSTCODE LOTTERY’

Saturday 15th July 2015

Cut to the bone, Britain’s firefighting service is short-handed and in crisis. A number of at-risk buildings grows in wake of Grenfell

TOWER blocks face a postcode lottery in firefighters’ ability to respond to emergencies, according to alarming new research published yesterday.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) study found that differing levels of fire service resources across the country have been damaging the ability to tackle blazes.

Bedfordshire has just two fire engines covering 664,000 people and no vehicles with long ladders or platforms to reach high-rise buildings.

In contrast Hampshire has eight fire engines and a machine — known as an aerial vehicle — to reach tall buildings.

Crew levels also vary between four or five firefighters per engine, the study shows.

Worryingly, although there are 125 aerial vehicles in England, just 33 are available 24/7 due to a lack of fire crew.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “These new findings are extremely concerning. In the light of the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower this situation is utterly unacceptable.

“We find it staggering that nothing has been done to address this grossly unjust postcode lottery of resources, and the fact that governments in all parts of Britain appear not to have even considered it is a disgrace.

“They now need to urgently instruct fire services to improve their fire and rescue planning to ensure a full and professional response to such incidents all over Britain.

“Citizens everywhere need to feel safe and confident that those in authority are taking their safety seriously. Anything less is, frankly, obscene.”

Mr Wrack has written to Prime Minister Theresa May today expressing his “concern and alarm” that the government has yet to implement a review into resources available to firefighters.

He also praised the London Fire Brigade for amending its planning following Grenfell to ensure any call to a similar fire receives a response of five engines and an aerial vehicle.

The research comes as Grenfell Tower survivors led a silent procession around the perimeter of the gutted tower block yesterday to honour the dead exactly a month on from the tragedy.

The commemoration led a grieving community on the march organised by Grenfell United, a collective created by those who escaped the tower block.

Hundreds also attended the funeral of Ali Jafari, one of the 80 people who have been confirmed dead following the blaze in the west London tower block four weeks ago.

Mr Jafari was separated from his family when he got out of the lift on the 10th floor as he was overcome by smoke.

It has been a difficult week for the west London community, marked by a number of vigils and fraught meetings with police and the authorities.

A map produced to mark a month since the disaster shows the enormous gulf between rich and poor neighbourhoods within the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Those areas that played a key role in the aftermath of the tragedy, including a site for the proposed rehousing of survivors, are located in some of the poorest parts of England.

Grenfell Tower is in one of the most deprived 10 per cent of areas in England.

And St Clement Church and the Clement James Centre which have been central hubs for the community following the fire are both in an area ranked among the 20 per cent most deprived.

By contrast Kensington Town Hall, where the council has faced angry protests for failing the community following the disaster, sits in one of the most affluent parts of the country.

Statistics show a deeply divided community with its average salary of £123,000, the highest in Britain, masking serious levels of poverty.

With a median wage of £32,700, the authority has the largest gap between these averages in the country.

Meanwhile the government has been urged to end its “fatal obsession with deregulation” by peers.

20 thoughts on “British austerity wrecks fire safety

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  2. Saturday, 15 July 2017

    OBR demands more austerity, more taxes on the poor and tax cuts for rich

    THE government’s financial watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), issued its latest report on Thursday, warning that British public finances are in a worse state to withstand a crisis than they were on the eve of the world banking collapse in 2007.

    According to the OBR this crash is ‘inevitable’. It places the blame on the failure of Theresa May to win a massive Tory majority. In fact, a Tory government that is dying on its feet has created uncertainty and panic in the capitalist class at a time when it has to come to grips with a working class that has had enough of years of Tory austerity cuts and is rising up against it.

    The report states that leaving the EU is not the only threat to the British economy but also a weak ‘hung parliament and austerity fatigue’. It slaps down May and all her talk of easing up on austerity, insisting that ‘Ongoing challenges must be faced while negotiating Brexit and in an environment of “austerity fatigue”.’

    It lambasts those Tory MPs who are scared of being booted out of their cushy jobs and are making calls on May to increase public spending to head off the wrath of workers. In other words, the OBR is urging the Tories to face down the working class, cut out all this nonsense of easing austerity and set about driving through the cuts necessary to keep the banks and speculators rolling in money.

    The OBR report was seized upon by the Tory chancellor and leading rival to May, Philip Hammond, who described it as a ‘sober analysis’, a ‘stark reminder of why we must deliver on our commitment to deal with our country’s debts’. When Hammond talks about ‘our country’s debt’, what he is really talking about is the massive national debt of nearly £2 trillion, a debt that has nothing to do with the working class but was run up bailing out the banks to the tune of over £1.5 trillion to stop them going bust in 2008.

    This is the debt that the OBR and the Tories are insisting must be paid through pay cuts and the destruction of the welfare state and the NHS. One section of British capitalist society, however, is exempted by the OBR and the Tories from shouldering the burden of keeping the bankers in luxury – the rich.

    According to the OBR, the 1% of the population who own almost all the wealth of the country are a cruelly treated minority who must be protected from the ravages of the crisis saying that the ‘reliance’ on taxing the rich made the economy ‘vulnerable to the shocks that affect high earners like a potential negative impact of Brexit on the financial sector or a crisis that hits asset markets’.

    Proclaiming that squeezing the rich by making them pay taxes ‘harms the economy’, the report laments that the amount of income tax paid by the top 1% has risen from 24.4% to an unbearable 27.7%, while at the same time hitting out at the fact that low earners have benefited from increases in personal allowance that have taken some of the poorest paid out of the tax bracket altogether.

    This then is the strategy of the capitalist class laid bare – drive up taxes for the ordinary worker and cut taxes to the 1% of the bankers and bosses so they don’t have to live permanently in the Bahamas or other tax havens. Millions of workers and young people have reached the conclusion that they will not accept mass poverty, homelessness and the destruction of the NHS as the price to pay for keeping this bankrupt system going a minute longer.

    The demand must be for the trade unions to take immediate action by calling a general strike to kick out this dying dog of a Tory government and going forward to a workers government. This will have to do much more than increase taxes on the rich by a few per cent. It will have to seize their banks and assets without any compensation and place them at the disposal of and for the benefit of the working class as part of a planned socialist economy.

    https://wrp.org.uk/news/13454

    Like

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