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28/07/2017

 

60 blocks fail new safety tests after Grenfell tragedy. The newest tests on the blocks were more thorough, looking at a combination of both the cladding with the foam insulation. Previously only the core had been tested but Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter has said; "It was fairly evident from the Grenfell fire that there was more than just the panels that was a fire risk on that building." Lord Porter added that housing associations and private sector landlords will be among those that own the 60 tower blocks which failed the new fire tests. 9 of these blocks, all in Salford, are government owed and had recently been re-clad in order to cut energy bills. Salford council said that it expected its towers to fail and had already begun to remove the cladding. Police investigating the Grenfell Tower fire have told residents that they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect that corporate manslaughter offences may have been committed by Kensington and Chelsea Council and the tenant management organisation that ran the block. Grenfell Tower site manager, Michael Lockwood, has announced that the building will be covered in a protective wrap next month and anticipates that the demolition of the block will commence towards the end of 2018. (Source BBC news website)

US Senate rejects Obamacare repeal bill. Arizona senator John McCain was at the forefront of the historic and critical vote to stop the “skinny repeal” of the bill. Senate Republicans have been desperate to overhaul Obama’s Affordable Care Act which has provided healthcare coverage to nearly 20 million American people by offering state fund incentives to expand Medicaid coverage to those on low-incomes. Trump’s “skinny repeal” sought to remove the individual mandate and put obligations on larger companies to pay the insurance for employees. The Congressional Budget Committee estimated that around 15 million people would lose coverage and insurance premiums would rise by 20%. Democrats have admitted that the law has its issues but they are uniformly opposed to any repeal to it, meaning that there was a just a small margin of error in order to pass the amendments. Only two votes could be lost and with fellow Republicans Susan Collines of Main and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska revoking the change, McCain provided the tie-breaking third vote, depriving Trump of his first major legislative victory. (Source – The Guardian)

EU nationals free to work in Britain after Brexit states Hammond. The Chancellor has declared that he is lobbying for a transitional period in order for Britain to not “fall off a cliff edge”. Suggesting a system where EU Nationals can still be free to come to the UK as long as they “register with the authorities first”, Hammond said there was a broad agreement in the cabinet about a transitional arrangement. "I hope we will be able to agree a transition which means goods will be able to flow across the border between the UK and the EU in much the way they do now,” he told the BBC’s Today Programme. He added: "It will be some time before we are able to introduce full migration controls between the UK and the European Union. We have to put in place new infrastructure, new IT systems, new people. The home Secretary and the Prime Minister have been clear this will take a while to put in place." (Source - The Independent)

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