Socialist Worker

Grenfell fire survivors angry at delays and obstructions

Issue No. 2585

Residents on the silent march demand justice for the dead of Grenfell

Residents on the silent march demand justice for the dead of Grenfell (Pic: Socialist Worker)


About 100 households displaced by the Grenfell Tower fire were still living in hotels over Christmas.

That’s despite Theresa May’s promise to rehouse people within three weeks of the fire.

On top of this, extra money promised to survivors by Kensington and Chelsea council to help cover Christmas costs did not arrive in time for 18 households.

The council had told families and individuals still in temporary accommodation they would get £140 per person to help ease December’s bills.

Alex Adewunmi, an assistant at the Christian Tabernacle Centre near the tower, told the Mirror newspaper, “There have been 24 suicide attempts since the fire. People here are angry and struggling to cope.”

Over Christmas KCTMO, the organisation that managed Grenfell Tower, announced it is temporarily handing back responsibility for housing to the council.

The news was met with anger from residents who want to hold the organisation to account.

Accused

Joe Delaney of the Lancaster West Estate Residents Association accused the council and KCTMO of a “cynical, unethical and completely underhand move”.

The inquiry into the causes of the fire held two days of procedural hearings last month to decide on its formal structure.

A submission, supported by a petition signed by over 25,000 people so far, was put forward by survivors. It requested additional panel members with decision making powers to sit alongside the inquiry’s chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

In his written response Moore-Bick said, “I refuse the formal application that I should consult the core participants on the identity of potential additional panel members”.

The reason he gave was he could not approach the prime minister with recommendations to appoint panel members.

In a letter to Moore-Bick, Theresa May said there was no need for an inquiry panel.

“I believe that the inquiry has the necessary expertise to undertake its work,” she said.

Few people in North Kensington share her belief in the inquiry.

Campaign

Moyra Samuels from the Justice4Grenfell campaign said, “People feel like they’re being used.

“There is an incredible amount of mistrust in the inquiry.”

There could be legal challenges to the inquiry, but they can’t be relied on to deliver justice—organisation on the ground is the critical factor.

A meeting is set to be held by the Justice for Grenfell campaign group later this month, details are to be confirmed.

“We need to figure out how we can put pressure on the inquiry and how we can get organised,” said Moyra.

More than 3,000 people joined the monthly Silent Walk in December last year to demand justice for the victims of the fire.

That organisation and defiance will have to continue.


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