Flat owners are being left to pay a high price for the Grenfell Tower horror

BECAUSE we’ve all been focused on the twin monsters of Brexit and the coronavirus, no one’s been paying much attention to the inquiry into what made the Grenfell fire so catastrophically lethal.

And people have been paying even less attention to what’s being done to help those who currently live in high-rise blocks.

Which, to sum up, is “not much”.

However, it was all brought into sharp focus for me this week when I received an email from the management company that looks after the six-storey block where I have a flat in West London.

Last year, they told us, the insurance was £8,000. But because of Grenfell, it had risen to £60,000.

As I am from Yorkshire, this caused me to faint.

I wouldn’t mind, but it’s a modern block, clad in a material that’s known to be safe.

Plus, there’s a sophisticated fire-prevention system and the lift can be used even if the whole building is in flames.

But the insurance companies see the word “cladding” and start to add the noughts.

In some blocks around the country premiums have shot up by 1,000 per cent.

People, already struggling to meet mortgage repayments on tiny, one-bedroomed flats are being completely screwed.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Government inspectors have found that in many blocks, the cladding is safe but other fire-prevention systems are woefully inadequate.

In some cases residents have been told to fork out as much as £256 A MONTH for fire wardens to patrol the corridors at night.

Others are being forced to fit smoke detectors in every room, which then go off every time someone makes a bit of toast.

To try to help, the Government has started a £30million fund, but that is literally like pouring a teaspoon of water on the Towering Inferno.

To remove the cladding from my block in London would cost £400,000.

Across the country, the bill would be billions.

So what I suggest is this. The inquiry into Grenfell has already established that the construction industry is not exactly squeaky clean, so when it’s over, bosses should be told that they got the country into this mess — so they can get us out of it.

Abbey Christmas to you

MAY I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

I hope you have fun and that you find the time to call up someone who might be lonely and alone.

Certainly, I’m going to FaceTime Abbey Clancy as often as possible.

I’m not sure she’ll be lonely but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Victims have it rough

IF your motorbike is stolen, we all know the police will do absolutely nothing at all to get it back.

So when Mihai Dinisoae saw thieves riding off on his bike, who can blame him for getting into his car and giving chase?

After a high-speed pursuit over several miles, he gave the bike a nudge, which resulted in the death of one of the thieves.

And now Mihai is beginning a ten-year stretch for manslaughter.

I don’t get that. Because if the state has abdicated its responsibility to solve crime then it can hardly pass judgment on those who choose to solve it and mete out punishment themselves.

Not your fault

GOOD news.

If your self-driving car has a crash, you will not be prosecuted because, under new plans being drawn up, you will be classified as the person in charge, not as the driver.

Even better news. The manufacturer of the car will be charged instead, which means, in a risk-averse, litigation-tastic world, all of them will abandon the idea of self-driving cars and go back to making something useful.

Horror matchday meals

ALL of the pictures of football ground food published in yesterday’s Sun were hilarious.

The woeful sausages and the hopeless pies.

But none could top the kebab, above, served up by a vendor at Stevenage FC. Because it really did look like a turd.

I understand the disappointment of being served a shoddy snack, because in the olden days, when I used to go to football matches, I was once served a prawn sandwich at Stamford Bridge.

And they hadn’t cut all the crust off.

Exotic hog has no point

ANIMAL enthusiasts have discovered that, right now, 150,000 exotic pets such as lemurs, gila monster lizards and squirrel monkeys are for sale in Britain.

I’ve never quite understood why people would want to own an animal that won’t fetch sticks or bark at burglars.

I mean, why would you pay £300 for a nocturnal African pygmy hedgehog which only ever does anything when you’re in bed?

If you want to own a talking-point animal that’s hard to look after, why not buy a cow?

At least it will provide milk. And when it dies, you get a lot of free burgers and a new rug.

Mob love a Covid breach

SO, an accountant who fondled the breasts of a woman passenger while flying from America, and then, when she recoiled in horror, hit her in the face with the book she was reading, has not been struck off.

Yup, the drunken and violent sex pest is free to carry on doing your tax returns and remains in employment at a firm on the south coast.

Mind you, if he now pops into the post office without wearing a mask, it’ll be a different story.

As we saw with poor old Kay Burley from Sky News, we’ve reached the point where, if you slightly and briefly bend one of the Covid rules, you instantly become a cross between Gary Glitter and Fred West.

And you’ll be hounded into the dole queue and out of your house by a vicious, snarling mob.

Road to nowhere

PLANS are afoot to build a new high-tech road network in Britain which will charge electric cars as they drive along.

Think Scalextric and you’re about there.

Fans of the scheme say that we already have wireless charging for phones, so why not cars?

Well, for one thing there’s the bother and expense of digging up every single road to install the charging system, coupled to the fact that most experts think it won’t work.

Apart from that though . . . 

Jail Dale is a hero

THE biggest overreaction to Covid-19 so far has come from the always weird Isle of Man authorities.

Now that they are no longer able to birch homosexuals, they decided to take out their frustration on a young chap called Dale McLaughlan, who had been refused permission to travel from his home in Scotland to visit his girlfriend in the island’s capital, Douglas.

So, to get round the problem, he bought a jet ski and, even though he’d never ridden one before and couldn’t swim, spent five hours crossing the choppy Irish Sea.

Isle of Man chief minister Howard Quayle described this as “an incredibly reckless, dangerous endeavour” and welcomed the month-long prison sentence that had been imposed on our lovestruck hero.

Let’s hope when he returns to the 21st century, the Queen recognises his swashbuckling actions in the New Year’s Honours list.

For services to romance and chivalry, arise Sir Dale.

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