Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry

Part of Humanitarian Situation in Mosul – in the House of Commons at 1:54 pm on 12th July 2017.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Housing 1:54 pm, 12th July 2017

I think the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government may want to set the record entirely straight when he winds up this debate. I take the First Secretary at his word for now, but last week we were told that 158 families lost their homes in Grenfell Tower, and 139 had been offered accommodation by the Prime Minister’s deadline. Last week, only three had moved out. This week—today—four weeks on, four had moved out and only a further 13 have actually been given offers that they feel they can accept. There is a huge gap between what Ministers are saying here and what residents are saying there. That is the problem, and the question to the First Secretary and the Secretary of State is: who is sorting this out? Who is in charge? Who is responsible for this continuing failure to provide the homes and the start again that people need? I am sure the First Secretary would accept that a hotel room is no home and that temporary accommodation is no place in which to try to rebuild a shattered life. So the top and the urgent priority must be for Ministers to find the permanent homes that are needed.

We welcome the 68 homes in Kensington Row that now will be available, as social housing, for the residents of Grenfell Tower. The rest could be done straightforwardly by doing a deal with local housing associations to make new homes available; by leasing or buying vacant private properties in the area; and by funding the council to build or acquire the new homes needed. The Government might even force Kensington and Chelsea Council to use some its reported £274 million in reserves to take this urgent priority action.