June’s tower-block fire victims let down – again – by council’s pen-pushers
THE government was branded “a disgrace” yesterday as figures showed the vast majority of families who survived the Grenfell Tower disaster had still not been permanently rehoused five months after the fire.
Of the 203 households who lived in the west London tower block and in nearby Grenfell Walk, just 26 were living in permanent accommodation last month.
Labour MP David Lammy — who lost a personal friend in the fire — said the figures, revealed after he submitted a parliamentary question, should be a “source of shame” for the government.
Housing Minister Alok Sharma confirmed that of those yet to be rehoused, 130 were living in emergency accommodation and 47 in temporary accommodation.
Kensington & Chelsea Council has been criticised for its response to the tragedy with Nick Paget-Brown resigning as leader after he claimed that Grenfell residents had refused to have water sprinklers fitted.
There have been calls for his replacement Elizabeth Campbell to stand down amid accusations that she is out of touch with the community.
The government initially promised to rehouse all those affected by the fire in nearby homes within three weeks.
Mr Lammy said: “These families have been failed by the state time and time again and it should be a source of shame for the government and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) that so many of these families will be spending Christmas in a bed & breakfast.
“It is totally unacceptable that only one in eight families have been rehoused in permanent accommodation and it is clear that the RBKC and DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) teams responsible for supporting and rehousing Grenfell Tower residents are totally unfit for purpose.”
He said that people on the ground have told him that authorities have been moving “far too slowly” and when offers of accommodation are being made they are unsuitable or away from workplaces, schools and support networks.
Mr Sharma said Kensington & Chelsea Council was working urgently to move all families affected by the Grenfell tragedy into temporary or settled accommodation at the earliest opportunity.