Grenfell lessons and the need to talk to tenants | Letters

Grenfell lessons and the need to talk to tenants | Letters thumbnail

Thank you for your continuing coverage of the Grenfell inquiry, and your vital underlining of its significance in your editorial (The Guardian view on Grenfell secrets: regeneration shame, 18 October).

There have been three Grenfell stories. Number one was the immediate response that residents had been betrayed by an insensitive council. Then came Andrew O’Hagan’s massive, influential article for the London Review of Books, which argued that residents were passionate but wrong, and that members of the council had been unfairly maligned.

Now the inquiry, in painful detail, is providing number three, and confirming that number one was essentially correct. There were irregularities in the tendering process, corners were cut to save costs, and the process of regulation was systematically undermined. Legitimate concerns were suppressed and residents slandered, as efforts were made to conceal the whole process from public scrutiny.

If we are serious about tackling inequality, these are all lessons we shall need to learn.

Paul Francis

Much Wenlock, Shropshire

• It’s time for housing associations to open their books on health and safety, both for their tenants and their workers (Residents asked to leave London blocks immediately over safety concerns, 19 October). It’s time to end their culture of secrecy, embrace transparency, and stop taking needless risks with health and safety.

These mega-landlords, which remain private organisations while receiving millions from the public purse with little accountability, need to start working with the representatives of tenants, residents and staff.

They must share what they know about the risks their buildings pose, and develop plans to fill any knowledge gaps, commissioning properly conducted health and safety inspections. Grasp the nettle by funding the necessary remedial works, without waiting for government to change legislation so that costs can be passed on to leaseholders.

The Social Housing Action Campaign works to give a voice to tenants and residents in housing associations and co-ops, and would be happy to talk to any association executive brave enough to do so.

Suzanne Muna

Social Housing Action Campaign