Grenfell two years on
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, the Government pledged that no one would be asked to live in unsafe homes and that they’d take action to prevent such a disaster happening again.
The reality is that two years on from this tragedy the Government has failed to deliver on its commitments. Seventeen households remain in emergency and temporary accommodation. The community continues to feel ignored and neglected, having to fight for every piece of support from the council - from receiving legal advice and accessing mental health services to simply understanding their rights.
In addition, the country’s failed building regulations system remains largely unchanged and 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.
The safety and well-being of Londoners is my top priority. I regularly meet with the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell Tower and the wider community, including businesses that were affected by the fire. In December 2018, I visited Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA) to announce a £50,000 donation to a trust for KAA students. After meeting with business tenants of Transport for London, who were affected by the fire, I made available a relief scheme to help them recover from the disaster. Last year, we gave social housing residents a new right to be balloted in cases where landlords wish to demolish their homes. And, for the first time, we have introduced fire safety measures in our new Draft London Plan.
But my powers as Mayor are limited, and I do not have any role in designing and implementing the changes the Government promised, nor in delivering the services desperately needed by the bereaved, survivors and local residents.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the fire, the Government must listen and step up its action.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan