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Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:10 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 4:10 pm, 30th October 2019

I am afraid I cannot give way; I have only a couple of moments left.

The right hon. Member for Wentworth and Dearne says, “Or else?” We have said—the Prime Minister reiterated this today—that those building owners who do not take action should face the full force of the law. Local authorities should use the enforcement powers they have, and my Department stands ready to support any local authority that wishes to do that. We will name those building owners that are not remediating ACM cladding at the pace that is required and take enforcement action against them. It is, as I have said previously, frankly shameful that £600 million of taxpayers’ money is now at their disposal to remove this dangerous cladding and yet some are prevaricating. We must and we will take action.

In the broader context, which we will learn about in the next phase, I want to see Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review implemented in full. It will be through our building safety legislation that was announced in the Queen’s Speech. Building owners must now assess the safety of their buildings and take action if that is required.

A number of hon. Members raised the rehousing of the victims and survivors of the Grenfell tragedy. I can report that 95% of the 201 households who lost their homes have been permanently rehoused. Today, nine households remain to be permanently rehoused. It would be wrong of me to set out their cases before the House, but I know each of their individual circumstances and my Department and I will continue to scrutinise and to challenge the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to ensure that action is taken and hat these individuals, when it is right for them, move into permanent housing of their choosing.

In the remaining seconds available to me, let me say in answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead that we will be taking forward the social housing White Paper. That is an important step in providing security and dignity to individuals who feel that they have not been listened to and that their views are not respected. We are working with Grenfell United, which represents some of the victims of the Grenfell tragedy, to ensure that that is done right and that we make the changes that are required for future generations.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the report from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.