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Grenfell survivors spurned again, as housing bosses grab millions

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Issue 2585
Marching for justice for the dead of Grenfell
Marching for justice for the dead of Grenfell (Pic: Socialist Worker)

In another insult to the Grenfell Tower survivors, money promised to them 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.

The extra money—a very small amount—was suggested because some people, including those with no cooking facilities in hotels, might face higher costs than usual at Christmas.

About 100 households that survived the fire spent Christmas Day in hotels.

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

“They’re suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The government is not treating them fairly and the council are not doing as much as they should.

“They’re not filling people’s needs and they don’t care.”


Over Christmas the organisation that managed Grenfell Tower, and manages thousands of other properties across Kensington and Chelsea, announced it is temporarily handing back responsibility for them to the council.

In a letter sent to resident, Fay Edwards, chair of Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), said, “The TMO board has reluctantly decided that it can no longer guarantee to fulfil its obligations with respect to the delivery of services contained in its contract with the council to a standard that residents should expect.”

The news has been greeted with anger from residents. Joe Delaney of the Lancaster West Estate Residents Association and a member of the council’s Grenfell recovery scrutiny committee, accused the council and KCTMO of a “cynical, unethical and completely underhand move”.

He said the council “hasn’t even shown the capacity to deal with the Grenfell disaster, so how can they demonstrate that they have got capacity to bring stuff in-house at this time?”

More than 3,000 people joined the monthly Silent Walk in December to demand justice for the victims of the fire. That organisation and defiance will have to continue.

Bonanza for housing bosses

The boss of housebuilder Persimmon is to receive a £110 million bonus.

The Financial Times article on the payout comments, “After years of bankers bearing the brunt of political criticism over executive pay, housebuilders look poised to take centre stage as the new villains.”

Jeff Fairburn’s bonus could build nearly 1,400 council houses.

The company is sharing out a further £400 million to other executives and middle managers.

Persimmon’s profits have been fuelled by the government’s right-to-buy scheme.

The company’s share price has more than doubled since the scheme launched in April 2013.

About half of Persimmon homes sold last year were to help-to-buy recipients, meaning government money helped finance the sales. The government has provided loans worth £7 billion.

Greg Beales of housing charity Shelter, said: “It is hard not to see this as profiteering from a housing crisis which is getting worse, at a time when more than 300,000 people have spent Christmas without a place to call home.”





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