Government refuses to confront enormity of Grenfell tragedy

In response to the announcement of the terms of the Grenfell Inquiry, Radical Housing Network said:

“This is yet another refusal by the Government to confront the enormity of Grenfell, and the indictment of our housing system which it represents. Limiting the inquiry to the narrow ‘technical’ causes of the fire will produce a narrow ‘technical’ outcome – one in which Grenfell is seen as an isolated case.

“Grenfell has posed extremely serious questions about the way we house people. Those affected by Grenfell, the wider community and the general public want answers. Prime Minister May pays lip service to ‘broad questions on social housing policy’ and yet these very questions are excluded from the inquiry terms. Investigators should be looking at the social policies which allowed such a tragedy in 21st Britain, and the way these have created a housing system in which some people matter more than others.

“Yet again this government, who said ‘no stone will be unturned’ in looking at the causes of the disaster, is fudging the issues at stake, and ignoring the close scrutiny of UK housing policy that we need. Grenfell must mark a turning point away from a broken and profit-driven housing system that treats tenants with contempt, and toward a society that ensures good housing for everyone.”

Radical Housing Network

@radicalhousing

RHN: Submission on Terms of Reference for Grenfell Inquiry

Radical Housing Network submission to Grenfell Tower Inquiry terms of reference consultation

The Radical Housing Network

  1.     The Radical Housing Network is an alliance of over 30 housing groups and campaigns in London. Grenfell Action Group, who consistently brought attention to failures of the council, TMO, and the risk posed by the tower in years preceding the tragedy, are an active member group of the Radical Housing Network.

Introductory Remarks and scope of the submission

  1.     The Radical Housing Network believes that the public inquiry must cover both the immediate and root causes of the fire, and should not restrict itself to a narrow or solely technical framing of the issue. The Chairman of the inquiry has suggested that he is “doubtful” that the inquiry can deliver the “much broader investigation” which those directly affected by the fire want. Our submission is that the terms of reference must be broad and political as well as technical. If the inquiry does not set its terms of reference at this breadth, RHN believe it will fail to address the root and immediate causes of the fire, and to prevent further tragedies.  The inquiry must have regard to all matters which can be reasonably said to pertain to the circumstances which led to the fire, and must not restrict itself from doing this at the outset, by selecting narrow terms of reference.
  2.     This submission will not address directly the immediate causes of the fire and its spread (cladding, sprinklers, white goods, and so on). Instead it is concerned to ensure that the inquiry has regard to the social, political and economic factors which has led to these failures. A number of robust submissions have been made which cover the immediate causes of the fire, for example those of the Fire Brigades Union, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. The inquiry should follow the guidance contained therein.

Resident and community participation

  1.     It is Radical Housing Network’s submission that the primary means by which a broad inquiry can be achieved is by putting those individuals directly affected by the tragedy, both from the tower itself and the broader Lancaster West community, at the centre of the process. As is well known, numerous members of the Grenfell and Lancaster West community had been highlighting safety and other concerns to both the TMO and RBKC for a number of years. These voices and concerns appear to have been ignored. The inquiry must not risk replicating this. Members of the local community, and representative community groups, must be ‘in the room’ for the establishment of the terms of reference. An inquiry which fails to deliver a process which is satisfactory to those people most directly affected is clearly completely inadequate. The residents have a unique and privileged knowledge of the matters which pertain to the causes of the tragedy, and must be central to the inquiry. This goes beyond involvement at the stage of establishing terms of reference. Residents must also be directly involved in the process of the inquiry, and given ample opportunity within the inquiry to question individuals called to give evidence.

The need to consider social policy

  1.     The deep sense of national outrage which followed the fire was perhaps unprecedented, and flows from both the scale of the tragedy, and its occurrence in the richest borough in the UK. There has been a widespread sense among the general public that the fire was directly attributable to the failings of social policy, and a stark indication that the housing, health, safety and wellbeing of certain people mattered more than those of others. For these reasons, the inquiry must have regard to, and channel, this widely felt anger. The inquiry must not ignore the social policy context which has led to the fire.
  2.     At the very minimum, the inquiry must have regard to those elements of housing policy which pertain to the causes of the fire.
  3.     The inquiry must examine whether social housing legislation and practice in the UK has created a situation in which accountability and responsibility for social housing and its residents have become obfuscated, and housing related service provision less and less transparent It must ask whether systemic changes in the ways that social housing and regeneration is managed has led to a situation in which the views and needs of residents have been sidelined as a matter of regular practice. This will involve asking whether the legislative shift towards outsourcing and for-profit organisations playing prominent roles in the sector has created a situation in which the voices and concerns of residents are not effectively heard, or cared about, due to a prioritising of cost-cutting over the quality of work delivered, as well as a lack of clear channels of democratic accountability. This investigation should include, but not be be limited to, scrutiny of ALMOs and PFI-run housing estates. The inquiry must ask whether social housing should be brought back under direct Local Authority control.
  4.     The inquiry must examine whether the underfunding of social housing is a contributing factor in the Grenfell tragedy. It must ask whether social housing has been adequately funded over recent decades. The inquiry should speak to housing experts and campaigners to examine whether the Grenfell fire was a predictable outcome of underfunding of the housing options available to those least economically advantaged members of society. It must examine whether Local Authorities and other social housing providers have been both properly funded and incentivised to maintain safe and high quality existing social housing stock. It must examine whether Grenfell should be a turning point after which the government once again celebrates and values it social housing stock, and initiates a massive programme of public investment therein.
  5.     The inquiry must examine whether the present housing offer in the UK, for individuals with the least economic advantage, is adequate. Grenfell has starkly illustrated that the housing options for individuals who experience the highest degree of economic exclusion can be lethally unsuitable. By speaking to residents, experts and housing campaigners, the inquiry should investigate whether the current UK housing system is adequately providing for many of the least well off in society. The inquiry should note that at the same time as Grenfell was a tragedy of the social housing sector, almost 2 million households are on the waiting list for this tenure, nationally. The inquiry must investigate whether the conditions for those people, excluded from social housing, and at the bottom of the private rented sector, are acceptable. It must ask whether the £25 billion spent annually on housing benefit, much of which flows to the private rented sector, is an effective, cost efficient means of providing decent housing for low income individuals and families. It must ask whether the dramatic real terms reduction in social housing stock, with over 1.5 million homes lost from the social housing sector since 1980, have led to the ‘residualisation’ of the tenure, whereby it is only now accessible to those at the most severe disadvantage, and who possess the least social and economic power in society. It should ask whether such a ‘ghettoisation’ of the tenure has contributed to social and economic circumstances which have led to the Grenfell tragedy. The inquiry should examine whether Grenfell should be a turning point after which the government once again initiates and funds a massive programme of public house building, to improve the housing offer for those with the least economic and social advantages, and broaden the availability and composition of the tenure.

Migrant Rights Groups Call for Full Amnesty for Survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire

Migrant rights, race relations, and community groups have signed an open letter calling for full immigration amnesty to all survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who do not have regularised immigration status.

Forty organisations including Liberty, the Runnymede Trust, the Institute of Race Relations, and Asylum Aid have signed the petition, calling on the UK government to offer full and indiscriminate amnesty, also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

In the month that has followed the Grenfell Tower fire, politicians including Sadiq Khan, David Lammy and Diane Abbott have openly called for full amnesty for migrant survivors. Despite this, the UK government have only offered a 12-month amnesty. While this concession recognises the necessity for amnesty, the letter voices concern that temporary amnesty could lead to migrant survivors facing deportation at a later date, and may still leave survivors too fearful to come forward to access the support needed to rebuild their lives.

Kathryn Medien, a member of Radical Housing Network who organised the letter, has said that, “the letter is an attempt to draw necessary attention to the urgency of amnesty and highlights the failure of the government to address this issue in a sustained and long-term way. The Grenfell Tower tragedy was preventable, it was the result of systematic failures by local and central government to provide adequate and safe housing. Migrants should not be punished for these failures.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide network of campaigns fighting housing injustice.  Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network. 

Press contact

Kathryn 07908735064

*******

Open Letter: Migrant Rights Groups Call for Full Amnesty for Survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire

We, the undersigned, demand that the UK government immediately offers full immigration amnesty – known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ – to all survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who do not have regularised immigration status.

 

The Home Office have given assurances that they are not conducting immigration checks on the ground, and have offered a 12-month immigration amnesty to survivors. However, this offer doesn’t go far enough.

 

While the government has announced all survivors of this tragedy are eligible to be rehoused irrespective of immigration status, we know of several undocumented survivors too fearful to come forward. These migrant survivors are concerned they will be later detained and/or deported. This is confirmed by advisors on the ground who report that individuals continue to sleep rough, rather than receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives.

 

This is also adding further complications for emergency services to find remaining survivors – the residents of 24 flats remain unaccounted for. Further, it is leaving families and friends in persisting anguish about their loved ones. If the UK government is truly committed to finding and supporting remaining survivors in the most timely manner, it should provide an amnesty offer that will enable all survivors to come forward.

 

We fear that this preventable tragedy could be used to deport and detain migrant survivors who have already suffered loss and trauma on an unimaginable scale. We demand full and indiscriminate amnesty and refuse to allow Theresa May’s government or any other public authority to further punish the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

 

Radical Housing Network

Haringey Migrant Support Centre

Migrants’ Rights Network

SOAS Detainee Support

Movement for Justice

Global Justice Brighton & Hove

Global Justice Worthing

The Unity Centre Glasgow

Unite Hotel Workers Branch

Global Justice Bexhill and Hastings

Unite Restaurant Workers Branch

Against Borders for Children

Good Law Project

Akwaaba

Haringey Anti Raids

Docs Not Cops

We Will Rise

Left Unity

Leeds No Borders

JUST Yorkshire

Runnymede Trust

Global Justice Manchester

Institute of Race Relations

Asylum Aid

Migrant Voice

No Deportations – Residence Papers for All

Bail for Immigration Detainees

Liberty

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

London Welcome Project

Centre for Research on Race and Law

No One Is Illegal

Redbridge Equalities & Community Council

Miscarriages of Justice UK

Camden Law Centre

Hackney Migrant Centre

DASH (Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield)

South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group

Latin American House

Global Justice Sheffield

Multiple reports of Grenfell residents still paying rent

In response to reports on Today programme of a Grenfell survivor continuing to be charged rent, Radical Housing Network said:

“Like everyone else, we’re absolutely appalled to hear reports of a Grenfell fire survivor being charged rent for their destroyed home.”

Grenfell Tower is part of Lancaster West estate, home to thousands of people.

“We’ve heard multiple reports that residents of Lancaster West estate, evacuated because their homes are uninhabitable, with no gas or hot water, are staying in unsuitable hotel accommodation while still paying their council rent. The trauma of the entire Lancaster West community is unimaginable, none of the residents should pay rent when questions over the safety of their homes remain – Grenfell Action Group called residents of Lancaster West ‘the forgotten victims’.

“All Lancaster West residents must have urgent clarification on this issue. We demand refunds for any rent collected, and reassurances that no other Grenfell survivors are affected.

“Confidence in Kensington and Chelsea Council is at rock bottom – for reassurance and clarity, the council must release financial information on all rental income they have collected.

“Once again the council that had little regard for residents before the Grenfell disaster shows its contempt for tenants. It’s time the Conservative council cabinet take collective responsibility for this catalog of failure and follow their leader and lead member for housing in resigning.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a network of housing campaigns from across London. Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

Grenfell Action Group called the wider Lancaster West estate community the ‘forgotten forgotten victims’ and documented their housing issues in this in this blog dated 22/06/17.

Press contact:

Joe Beswick 07873 557 040

Radical Housing Network

radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com

@radicalhousing

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a network of housing campaigns from across London. Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

Grenfell Action Group called the wider Lancaster West estate community the ‘forgotten forgotten victims’ and documented their housing issues in this in this blog dated 22/06/17.

Press contact:

Joe Beswick 07873 557 040

Radical Housing Network

radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com

@radicalhousing

RBKC Council leader Nick Paget-Brown & Cllr Feilding-Mellen resign – ‘Resignations are just the beginning’ says Radical Housing Network

In response to the double resignations of Council leader Nick Paget-Brown & Cllr Feilding-Mellen, cabinet member for housing, after revelations that he valued cost savings above fire safety, a Radical Housing Network spokesperson said:

“We welcome Paget-Brown’s resignation as leader of Kensington and Chelsea council – it is inexcusable that he has spent this long clinging to power.  His council’s response both before and after the tragedy has been incompetent and callous; the only concern has been to avoid scrutiny. His appalling resignation statement shows a dogged inability to understand the concerns of the community he is meant to represent. Residents are angry, let down, and yet all Mr Paget-Brown can do is pass the buck. He is without shame.

“Cllr Feilding-Mellen put profit ahead of people’s lives – his resignation is a small step toward justice. He and his colleagues have been hellbent on regeneration schemes in which profit was put before safety and which are seen across the borough as tantamount to ‘social cleansing’ and an attack on the working class North Kensington community.

“These resignations are just the beginning. Criminal charges must follow for those responsible, and the recently announced public inquiry into Grenfell must deliver real justice. It must be broad, and seek to understand how residents voices have been systematically ignored for so long. Prime Minister May must keep her increasingly empty sounding promise to ‘leave no stone unturned’.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a network of housing campaigns from across London. Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

Press contact: 

Joe Beswick – 07873557040

Radical Housing Network

info@radicalhousingnetwork.org

@radicalhousing

Statement from Lancaster West estate Residents

Residents are “shocked and disappointed” at Theresa May’s ‘failed promises’ on Grenfell Tower fire inquiry.

Residents in the estate surrounding the Grenfell Tower today expressed disappointment at Theresa May’s failure to consult them on the public Inquiry into the fire, despite her previous promises to include them.

Resident Amanda Fernandez, said: “Prime Minister Theresa May did not even respond to our email requesting direct involvement on the establishment of the public inquiry. She has already appointed a judge who has told us the inquiry will be very narrow. She promised to consult us on this, but has completely gone back on that promise. We are deeply disappointed”.

Without consulting residents May has started appointing people such as Sir Martin Moore-Bick, and Sir Ken Knight, who residents feel are not appropriate, compromising the scope of the investigation from the start.

Residents say trust and confidence in the government and the inquiry are now very low, and residents are demanding the appointment of the correct people to lead this inquiry in order to prevent the same failures to be repeated again.

“We now have a complete lack of confidence in the inquiry’s ability to address the history of negligence that led to the fire, nor the authorities failures in the aftermath of the fire. For the truth to emerge and justice to be done we must be involved in shaping this inquiry” said resident Amanda Fernandez.

Please contact Lancaster West estate residents directly at: lancasterwestresidents@gmail.com 

Controversial ‘social cleansing’ judge, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, chosen for Grenfell Inquiry, and Sajid’s Javid’s housing offer – Radical Housing Network responds.

Following the announcement of Sir Martin Moore-Bick as Judge in the Grenfell inquiry, and Sir Ken Knight as chair of a new panel looking at safety, Radical Housing Network said:

“The appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick as the judge in the Grenfell inquiry is deeply distressing. Sir Moore-Bick has a track record of facilitating the social cleansing of London, approving Westminster Council’s decision to house a single mother with five children in Milton Keynes, 50 miles away from their family and networks, a decision later overturned by the Supreme Court. The government are clearly preparing a stitch-up, trying to put a judge at the heart of the establishment in charge of the inquiry, who supports the inhumane housing policies which have led to Grenfell.”

“The new chair of the “independent panel” advising on safety measures is Sir Ken Knight, a man who previously opposed fitting sprinklers in tower blocks and recommended £200m in cuts to the fire service. How can we have faith in this panel to deliver the protection we need? These two appointments are yet further evidence that the establishment is not committed to providing justice for Grenfell residents, and are unwilling to put in place measures which will prevent a tragedy of this enormity from happening again.”

Pilgrim Tucker , who worked with Grenfell Action Group at Grenfell Tower and is continuing to support residents, added:

“Residents from Lancaster West estate asked Theresa May to involve them in the decision making on the Grenfell Inquiry. In appointing Sir Martin Moore-Bick, she has ignored them, and appointed a completely inappropriate judge. We have no faith that this inquiry will produce justice.”

On Sajid Javid’s letter, on 28/06, that all residents made homeless by the Grenfell catastrophe will be permanently rehoused in social housing at social rent, the Radical Housing Network said:

“After over two weeks of uncertainty, and flip-flopping, it is good that the authorities have committed to housing all those made homeless by the fire, regardless of tenure, in permanent social housing at social rent. This is the absolute minimum that should be provided for people who have lost so much.

“However, after appearing to promise homes in borough, the government have backtracked. People housed in neighbouring boroughs could end up living many miles away from their jobs, families and communities. We know Kensington and Chelsea council could afford local homes if they wanted to. They should dip into some of their £274 million surplus, and provide social rented homes in the borough.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a network of housing campaigns from across London. Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

Press contact

Joe Beswick – 07873557040

radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com

@radicalhousing

Communities across London respond to the Grenfell tragedy, demanding safe housing and an end to ‘silencing’ tenants

Estate residents and renters in communities across London are demanding action to ensure that their homes are safe, and that authorities ‘listen to tenants’ to ensure that the Grenfell catastrophe marks a turning point for the UK’s housing system, Radical Housing Network said.

In Lambeth, a community forum is being held tonight to demand urgent ‘Action for Safe Homes’. Residents from across the borough are attending the meeting, including from Central Hill and Cressingham Gardens, two council estates with long-running anti-regeneration campaigns. Pilgrim Tucker, a housing campaigner who worked closely with Grenfell residents to demand safety issues were addressed, will be speaking at the event.

Earlier this week in Barnet, following the discovery of a tower-block with similar cladding to that used at Grenfell Tower, a local residents campaign held a protest to ‘demand answers’ from the local council to ensure the block was not ‘a danger to life’. And in Hackney, a renters group held an emergency public meeting to discuss how ‘to make sure people in our community are safe’.

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide network of over 30 campaigns fighting housing injustice, of which the Grenfell Action Group are a member.

Anne Cooper, a council tenant on Cressingham Gardens estate in Lambeth, said:

“As estate residents we saw the tragedy unfold at Grenfell and our first thought was – they are just like us. They had concerns about regeneration and maintenance, and were ignored.

“Now we feel it’s time to demand action to make our homes safe. We have been fighting Lambeth council’s regeneration plans for years but we’ve been ignored, even silenced. Grenfell has confirmed just how critical it is for councils to listen to tenants’ voices.

“Our community is coming together to work out how we can pressure authorities to listen to us – and provide the public investment needed to ensure safe, decent homes for everyone.”

A spokesperson for Radical Housing Network said:

“Over 120 tower blocks have failed cladding safety tests, and the number keeps growing. Across the country, people are scared, wondering whether their homes are safe. The tragedy at Grenfell has revealed just how broken and unsafe our housing system is.

“We’re calling neighbourhood meetings to ensure residents’ voices are heard by local councils. For far too long, social tenants have been treated as second-class citizens – now communities across London are demanding that public authorities guarantee safe homes for all.

“Grenfell must mark a turning point – it’s time to fix our broken housing system. We need public investment in a new generation of decent, safe, genuinely affordable public housing.”

 

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide network of campaigns fighting housing injustice.  Grenfell Action Group, a resident group who campaigned on safety issues at Grenfell Tower, is a member of Radical Housing Network.

Barnet Housing Action Group, Save Cressingham Gardens, Hackney Renters, Lambeth Housing Activists are also members of the Radical Housing Network.

Press Contact

Joe Beswick – 07873557040

radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com – updates follow @radicalhousing

Lancaster West Estate Residents: Letter to Prime Minister and Home Secretary on the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry

We are the residents of the Walkways surrounding Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate, forced to live in the shadow of the Grenfell disaster. 

We support the survivors and mourn the dead – they are our families, friends and neighbours, many of whom are still missing.
We want to ensure that justice is served for everyone on the estate. We therefore demand that our voices are heard and fully included in the public enquiry.
  • We welcome the proposed full public inquiry and the promised consultation with residents and families of the deceased on the terms of reference on which the inquiry will proceed.
  • We also welcome the governments acknowledgement that the voices of residents and victims’ families must be heard by the inquiry and the promise of funding for legal representation to that end.
  • And so as the residents of Hurstway, Testerton, Barandon and Grenfell Walks, we demand that:
    • the scope of the core participants who should be consulted and funded for legal representation should include, not only the bereaved families and survivors, but also civil society representatives and organisations who have a track record of working with the residents;
    • this consultation needs to take place as soon as possible, with arrangements in place to ensure that it can be accessed effectively by all potential core participants;
    • to that end, the funding for legal representation of the bereaved families and survivors should be made available with immediate effect on a non-means tested basis in view of the distress that would otherwise be suffered by residents having to establish entitlement to public funding in the absence of official documentation and when they have lost their homes and possessions;
    • moreover the scope of the consultation should cover, not only the terms of reference, but also:
      • the identity of the proposed Chair and Counsel to the inquiry, including the requisite skills and experience; and
      • the composition of the panel of advisors appointed to assist the inquiry, including the requisite subject matter expertise, skills and experience.
  • This inquiry must enable a comprehensive investigation into:
    • the historical background leading up to the events prior to the fire both here and in relation to other tower block fires and any recommendations which had followed;
    • the fire, its cause/spread, and the immediate emergency response to it;
    • the aftermath of the fire, including the ongoing endeavours of the bereaved families and survivors to obtain the support and assistance they require, and the admitted failures in this regard on the part of the state, local and national.
  • The investigation must leave no stone unturned: it must identify each and every individual and organisation who must bear responsibility and accountability for this tragedy and the mishandling of the aftermath;
  • There must be swift recommendations to ensure there can be no chance of a repeat of this disaster elsewhere;
  • Bereaved families and survivors will require time to recover and grieve, not least in view of the paucity of support they have been afforded by the state and its agencies in the immediate aftermath. To that end, the timetable for the proposed consultation must be established and announced at the earliest opportunity, so that their effective participation can become a reality.
Please contact Lancaster West Residents directly at: lancasterwestresidents@gmail.com
Radical Housing Network press contact:
Joe Beswick on 07873557040 
radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com / Updates follow @radicalhousing

Grenfell Tower residents evicted from emergency hotel accommodation with hours notice

Today residents of Grenfell Tower were given eviction notices by the local council to vacate their temporary accommodation in Kensington, in a move described as ‘barbaric’ by Radical Housing Network.

Residents of Grenfell Tower who had been staying at the Holiday Inn, Kensington, were told today that they were to be separated and moved by 4pm to other temporary hotel accommodation across London, in places such as in Heathrow, Lambeth, Southwark and north London. Following intervention by legal observers, most of the residents have been moved together to a hotel in Westminster.

Pilgrim Tucker, a community organiser working with the Grenfell Action Group and liaising with residents at the hotel, said:

“It’s beyond disgusting that after all these people have been through – losing their neighbours and watching their homes burn to the ground – authorities are prepared to tell them that they have hours to pick up their bags and move to some unknown destination, separated from their friends and neighbours. It makes you wonder if anything’s been learned from the Grenfell catastrophe.”

Radical Housing Network, an alliance of which Grenfell Action Group is a member, said:

“Today Grenfell residents staying together in a Kensington hotel were told they were going to be split up and scattered across London at a moment’s notice. Moving people around who have been through horror and trauma from one temporary accommodation to another is barbaric and unnecessary, and speaks of a degree of callousness by the authorities.

“Only yesterday Sajid Javid was promising that all those made homeless by the Grenfell fire would be rehoused in the borough within a matter of weeks. The government needs to move fast to make good on this commitment to rehouse all those made homeless by this catastrophe, according their wishes and needs.

“We still need answers as to what will happen to private renters, subtenants and homeowners of Grenfell Tower. We strongly suggest that given the scale of the disaster – and the trauma, mismanagement and negligence surrounding this case – all tenants of Grenfell, not just council tenants, are prioritised for permanent social housing in the local borough. If no so such social housing is available, we suggest Kensington & Chelsea council dip into their £274 million cash reserves to buy up property and turn it into social housing.

“Grenfell Tower is an indictment of a broken housing system – one where council housing is systematically run down and tenants are treated with contempt.

“It’s about time we had housing for people not for profit – and public investment in secure, decent, genuinely affordable housing for everyone.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide network of campaigns fighting housing injustice. For all press statements see radicalhousingnetwork.organd follow @radicalhousing. Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

 

Contact: radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com // Follow @radicalhousing

Damning MET statement indicates ‘culture of negligence at all levels’ – those responsible must be held to account

Commenting on the Metropolitan Police statement on the Grenfell Tower investigation, a spokesperson for the Radical Housing Network said:

“Today’s initial verdict from investigators, which could lead to criminal charges, is beyond damning. It is also an indictment of a broken housing model – one where council housing is systematically run down and tenants are treated with contempt.

“We now know that insulation and cladding tiles which failed safety tests were fitted to a block housing hundreds of people. Fourteen inspections at Grenfell in the last two years failed to pick anything up, despite initial refurbishment proposals and tenant requests for fire resistant cladding – which was never fitted.

“From the council’s estate management organisation failing to respond to repeated resident complaints, to the reported delaying of a fire safety review by government ministers, it’s clear that a culture of negligence existed at all levels. Those responsible must be held to account. In particular, Kensington & Chelsea council leader Nick Paget-Brown must answer questions on what appear to be multiple failings by his local authority and its privately contracted service providers.

“The issues raised by this initial verdict go far beyond Grenfell, and we must take urgent action to guarantee the safety of our homes. Only public investment in housing can ensure that we stop cost-cutting for the sake of profit and that council tenants lives are put before other concerns.

“People everywhere need and deserve safe, decent and genuinely affordable housing, run for the public good, not for profit.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide network of campaigns fighting housing injustice. For all press statements see radicalhousingnetwork.org.Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

Contact: radicalhousingnetwork@gmail.com // Follow @radicalhousing

 

Grenfell Tower residents evicted from emergency hotel accommodation with hours notice

Today residents of Grenfell Tower were given eviction notices from their temporary accommodation in Kensington, in a move described as ‘barbaric’ by Radical Housing Network.

Residents of Grenfell Tower who had been staying at the Holiday Inn, Kensington, were told today that they were to be separated and moved by 4pm to other temporary hotel accommodation across London, in places such as in Heathrow, Lambeth, Southwark and north London. Following intervention by legal observers, most of the residents have been moved together to a hotel in Westminster.

Pilgrim Tucker, a community organiser working with the Grenfell Action Group and liaising with residents at the hotel, said:

“It’s beyond disgusting that after all these people have been through – losing their neighbours and watching their homes burn to the ground – authorities are prepared to tell them that they have hours to pick up their bags and move to some unknown destination, separated from their friends and neighbours. It makes you wonder if anything’s been learned from the Grenfell catastrophe.”

Radical Housing Network, an alliance of which Grenfell Action Group is a member, said:

“Today Grenfell residents staying together in a Kensington hotel were told they were going to be split up and scattered across London at a moment’s notice. Moving people around who have been through horror and trauma from one temporary accommodation to another is barbaric and unnecessary, and speaks of a degree of callousness by the authorities.

“Only yesterday Sajid Javid was promising that all those made homeless by the Grenfell fire would be rehoused in the borough within a matter of weeks. The government needs to move fast to make good on this commitment to rehouse all those made homeless by this catastrophe, according their wishes and needs.

“We still need answers as to what will happen to private renters, subtenants and homeowners of Grenfell Tower. We strongly suggest that given the scale of the disaster – and the trauma, mismanagement and negligence surrounding this case – all tenants of Grenfell, not just council tenants, are prioritised for permanent social housing in the local borough. If no so such social housing is available, we suggest Kensington & Chelsea council dip into their £274 million cash reserves to buy up property and turn it into social housing.

“Grenfell Tower is an indictment of a broken housing system – one where council housing is systematically run down and tenants are treated with contempt.

“It’s about time we had housing for people not for profit – and public investment in secure, decent, genuinely affordable housing for everyone.”

Notes to Editors

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide network of campaigns fighting housing injustice. For all press statements see radicalhousingnetwork.org and follow @radicalhousing. Grenfell Action Group is a member of the Radical Housing Network.

Press contact

Katya Nasim 07791018631