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Government treatment of Grenfell survivors "inhumane"

GRENFELL GARDEN: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the dedication of a new memorial garden at St Clement's Church to mark the first anniversary of Grenfell disaster

THE MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan, has said the government’s treatment of Grenfell Tower fire survivors is “inhumane”.

Khan made the comments in a letter to Downing Street ahead of the one year anniversary of the tragedy.

In the letter, Khan wrote: “As the families who lost relatives, friends and neighbours embark on the inquiry and attempt to rebuild their lives, they need to know that their government and council have the commitment and expertise required to support them. The treatment they have faced over the past year has been, at best, inconsistent and chaotic and at worst, inhumane.”

The mayor said that the survivors and the affected families had faced “institutional indifference” in the year following the fire.

He added: “The institutional indifference these families have faced in the 12 months since the fire is simply unacceptable. Your government has failed to give the support so clearly required by the local authority as these families experienced repeated failures and broken promises from the government and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It has become ever more apparent to me that your government is unwilling to step in and take responsibility for local response efforts.”

He called for the government to improve communication with survivors of the blaze that caused the deaths of 72 people, to speed up the rehousing process and to grant visas to relatives wishing to travel to the UK from overseas in order to attend the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

Khan also urged May to appoint panel members who are representative of the survivors.

“It is crucial that the survivors are involved in the appointment of these panel members to ensure that they create an inquiry they can have confidence in. I urge you to publish details on how these individuals will be selected and appointed as soon as possible,” he said.

In addition to his criticism of the prime minister's government's treatment of Grenfell, Khan has also called on the home secretary to increase funding of the Metropolitan police prior to the spending review next year.

He said: "It's about time the government woke up to the stark reality of the cuts they have imposed, but waiting to the spending review next year is far too late. We have seen police officer numbers drop below 30,000 in London for the first time in 15 years and it's not sustainable. The new Home Secretary must show he really understands the issues facing the police by giving them proper funding and powers now before it's too late."

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