Grenfell Tower fire: SNP's delays over identifying dangerous cladding are simply not good enough – Scotsman comment

The Scottish Government’s search for a contractor to identify dangerous cladding is shockingly late

The Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people, was one of the greatest tragedies of our time. It also happened more than six years ago.

So while it is welcome that the Scottish Government is looking into awarding a contract to an external company to identify all the high-rise blocks of flats that may have dangerous cladding and a fire-safety issue, it is also hard to comprehend why it has taken so long.

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It feels like yet another failure by Scottish ministers to get on with the basics of running the country, tackling the nuts-and-bolts issues that all governments must, as they arise. After all, there will be people going to bed tonight wondering whether their building is safe or whether they might face the same fate as the inhabitants of Grenfell.

The Scottish Conservatives have previously criticised the government’s “pitiful lack of progress” and their housing spokesman, Miles Briggs, said: “These issues should have been investigated long before now and when ministers finally get round to awarding a contract, any issues that are discovered must be made as transparent as possible. SNP ministers cannot continue to take their eye off the ball and must start delivering for residents who are worried about living in dangerous buildings.”

For those who do not know, taking their “eye off the ball” refers to the infamous admission by Nicola Sturgeon that her government had done just that over Scotland’s shocking number of drug deaths. As everyone will know, there is a ball from which the SNP eye never wavers: the cause of Scottish independence. So it was no real shock that leaving the UK was given as a supposed means to reduce Scotland’s drug-deaths rate, despite it being far in excess of the rest of the UK’s, in the Scottish Government’s recent policy paper on the issue.

The consequences of bad government are not always felt. But a failure to keep people safe – a government's first duty – would be impossible to ignore, or forgive. The Scottish Government must act now to ensure it does all it can, as quickly as it can.



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