Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Government must step in to support Grenfell fire survivors - statement


Everyone is horrified by the Grenfell Tower fire and heartbroken for the families of those who lost their lives or are missing and for all those who've lost their homes.  But there is an additional worry for tenants and leaseholders in the 100s of flats in the dozens of high-rise blocks in my constituency of Camberwell and Peckham about whether they are safe.

It was appalling to see history repeat itself, the lessons from Lakanal not learnt and the scale of the loss of life so much greater.

Last Thursday I spoke in Parliament in response to the statement by Fire Minister, Nick Hurd MP and called on the Government to:

*give councils the resources they need to increase their fire inspections, supervise contractors working on improvements and install sprinklers.

*review and update the building regulations.

*award Legal Aid to the residents so that their voice can be heard in the public inquiry.  The Fire Service and the council will have QCs - at public expense.  It will be a travesty if the residents, who had to run for their lives, just have to sit in the public gallery.

*ensure that the Grenfell Tower residents are rehoused in the area and that problems with their bank, insurance and ID documents are sorted.

* make sure that hospitals and emergency services have enough resources to deal with the survivors.

*provide the money to ensure survivors are rehoused in the area, not sent miles away.

The community response has been fantastic, but as in Lakanal, Grenfell survivors have fled their flats with nothing - no bank cards, no ID. They need help if they are to be able to go back to work or travel. Charities have been wonderful but the government must step in. 

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