THE MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan, has today criticised the government’s “utterly shameful” lack of action following the Grenfell Tower fire and its continued failure to support the most vulnerable people in society.
As the date of the two-year anniversary of the devastating fire approaches, the mayor has hit out at the dismal lack of action taken by the government that has left 17 households still in emergency and temporary accommodation, a community continuing to feel ignored, neglected and lacking support, and thousands of people across the country still living in homes wrapped with unsafe cladding.
Khan has called the government’s response unacceptable as he made clear that the vulnerable in our society continue to be badly let down.
In a letter to the outgoing prime minister, Theresa May, the mayor has highlighted the failure to tackle the injustice in our society as he called on the next prime minister to make this a priority and deliver the lasting change that is urgently required.
He wrote: “On 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in Grenfell Tower resulting in the tragic loss of 72 lives and devastating the community of North Kensington. At that time, your government pledged that no one would be asked to live in unsafe homes and to take action to prevent such a disaster happening again.”
“The reality is that two years on from this tragedy the dismal lack of action from your government has been utterly shameful and you have failed to deliver on your commitments. Seventeen households remain in emergency and temporary accommodations. The community continues to feel ignored and neglected, having to fight for every piece of support from the council – from receiving legal advice, accessing mental health services to simply understanding their rights.”
The mayor went on to lament the lack of significant change in building regulations.
“Thousands of people across the country are still living in homes wrapped with unsafe cladding and worry how they are going to cover the costs for making those homes safe,” he said.
As part of his response to the tragedy Khan has met with the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell Tower and the wider community on multiple occasions, announced a £50,000 donation to a Trust for Kensington Aldridge Academy students and made available a relief scheme to help those affected recover from the disaster. Acknowledging his limited powers are limited, he urged the government to step up its actions.
Referencing May’s comments on her response to the blaze, Khan said: “Your claim that your response to Grenfell was one of your biggest achievements as prime minister is far from the truth, rather it is a legacy of your premiership that vulnerable people in our society have been let down, been continuously neglected and clearly ignored.”