High-rise Buildings: Disabled People

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th December 2017.

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Photo of Chris Williamson Chris Williamson Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Fire and Emergency Services) 12:00 am, 4th December 2017

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled people are not housed on the upper floors of high-rise buildings.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Decisions on who is allocated particular properties are ultimately for local authorities and landlords to take at local level. However, our statutory guidance on social housing allocations encourages councils to give appropriate priority to those who need ground-floor accommodation, including disabled people.

Photo of Chris Williamson Chris Williamson Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Fire and Emergency Services)

The Minister will be aware that several disabled people were housed on the upper floors of Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire earlier this year. One disabled woman, whose name was Flora, would certainly not have survived had it not been for the heroics of her son, who carried her to safety from the 24th floor. Can the Minister assure the House that the Grenfell inquiry will consider access and egress for disabled people living in tower blocks? Will he also tell us whether disabled and independent abled organisations will be able to have their voices heard in the inquiry?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

The Grenfell inquiry is independent, so I will let the judge take care of that. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that the Government will be publishing a social housing Green Paper next year, and that I am conducting a tour of the country and meeting social housing tenants directly. Of course we will consider access to accommodation for disabled people that is suitable for their needs as part of that work.