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Grenfell protesters: 'We still have death traps out there'

RALLY: Protesters gathered in Parliament Square yesterday

GRENFELL PROTESTERS have called for cladding to be urgently stripped from tower blocks across the country almost a year after the tragedy.

At a rally in Parliament Square yesterday, survivors and supporters gathered to make demands to authorities and remember those affected.

Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle died in the fire last year, said: “They should ban the cladding full stop.

“We still have death traps out there in London. Let’s make those changes now and give people the assurance they are safe in their homes. Sprinklers need to be added and the cladding removed.”

Natasha Elcock, a survivor of the blaze, having escaped from the 11th floor of the block, said: “We don’t want the people who died a year ago to have died in vain. There are also people still living in blocks with this cladding. We want to ensure that people in social housing don’t get treated like we did.”

Around 300 residential blocks higher than 18 metres with aluminium composite panels similar to those used on the Grenfell Tower block have failed to pass government fire tests.

Similar cladding is still present on 54 social housing blocks and numerous private housing throughout England. Estimates for replacing the cladding are around the £1 billion mark.

During a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, MPs criticised the government for failing those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said: “From the start the prime minister has failed to recognise who this inquiry is actually for.

“Today nearly one year on from the Grenfell fire disaster, and despite all the promises that have been made, 72 Grenfell households are still living in hotel rooms, a further 64 are still in temporary accommodation, and only a third have been housed.”

Labour MP for Westminster north Karen Buck said that she was “shocked” that London housing associations “are still auctioning properties on the open market in areas like Kensington and Hammersmith...when there is a possibility some of those properties could be used to meet the needs”.

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