Grenfell Tower: rehousing deadline won’t be met, says government
Sajid Javid blames Kensington and Chelsea council for delay in offering survivors permanent housing
The government is likely to break its promise to permanently rehouse all the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire within a year, the housing secretary has admitted.
Nine months on from the west London tragedy that killed 71 people, just 62 out of 209 households needing rehousing have moved into permanent accommodation, Sajid Javid told the Commons today.
“It is unlikely that all households will be permanently rehoused by the one-year anniversary of the fire,” he said. “This is clearly not good enough and I hoped to have seen much more progress.”
Javid added that it was “always going to be a challenge to respond to an unprecedented tragedy on this scale and to secure new accommodation in one of the country’s most expensive locations.”
The Tory minister criticised Kensington and Chelsea council for the “totally unacceptable” delay.
The council has faced severe criticism for its pre-fire actions, which will form part of an inquiry into the tragedy, due to begin on 21 May, as well as for its slow response to events, The Guardian reports.
Javid says he expects the council to “take on board its recommendations and do more to listen to the community”.
The survivors’ group Grenfell United said it was “heart breaking” that more promises had been broken.
Opposition MPs were highly critical. Tony Lloyd, the junior shadow housing and communities minister, said the government’s response was “shameful”.
“When [Javid] promised that everyone would be rehoused within the year’s anniversary of the tragedy, that was a promise that gave some hope to the survivors of Grenfell Tower,” the Labour MP told the Commons.
“That promise has been abysmally failed [by Javid],” he said. “He’s got to say now what he’s going to do to make sure that he can give a reasonable timescale, give reasonable hope to those people who are still waiting for some good news out of the tragedy.”