Today’s Leicester Mercury (May 6) features a report about a fire that recently took hold in a six-story block of student flats in the city centre.
In this instance, firefighters were able to evacuate the block, and we can be thankful that no-one was hurt.
But had this incident taken place within the 22-story block of student flats in Leicester’s city centre, which is encased in flammable cladding, the consequences could have been very different. (“Leicester tower block still covered with failed cladding nearly 2 years after Grenfell fire tragedy,” Mercury, April 4)
The flammable block in question is called The Summit, which looms over the mini Statue of Liberty statue.
According to the Mercury, the flammable cladding will be removed later this year, and the fire service has said it is “satisfied the building is safe to occupy because of other fire safety measures in place within the building.”
Nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder why the billionaire owners of The Summit have been so slow to act?
You would imagine that if the owners of the flats had discovered that their own mansions were coated in a highly flammable material they might have acted with more speed!
This problem is not of course limited to Leicester.
Last year The Guardian (September 20) reported that “Fifty-four privately owned student residential towers in England remain clad in aluminium composite material similar to that which helped spread the fire at Grenfell Tower 15 months ago…” The article went on to add the demand made by the National Union of Students that the flammable “buildings should not be used until they have been repaired.”
This seems like sensible advice. Afterall, Brookfield Asset Management, the current owners of Student Roost — the company that operates The Summit — boast on their web site that they have over $350 billion in assets under management.
As ever, it seems that profiteering is being placed before human life.
That is why it is so necessary to fight to oppose the political and economic system that enables capitalists to coat high-rise flats in cheap flammable materials.
The fight must therefore continue to get rid of capitalism and ensure its replacement with a socialist alternative, whereby human need will always come before the inhuman needs of big business.