Kensington and Chelsea Council is sitting on a third of a billion pounds while Grenfell Tower survivors are repeatedly offered unsuitable housing, local MP Emma Dent Coad has claimed.
Although around 100 housing offers have been made, only eight have so far been accepted as incidents of survivors beings offered accommodation at the top of tower blocks, in estates earmarked for demolition and beside busy roads have emerged.
But Coad, the new MP for Kensington, insisted that the council should be buying new homes to rehouse those affected.
Emma Dent Coad visits the scene with Jeremy Corbyn
Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, the Labour MP said: “I don’t think they’re doing enough, they need to take extra steps.
“You know they’ve still got a third of a billion pounds in reserves. They could reach out and buy properties.
“They’ve got a hell of a lot of money stashed away which is sitting there and doesn’t even earn interest.
“They should take responsibly for what has happened and take responsibility for their residents.
She added that she was “really shocked” that those affected were being offered such unsuitable accommodation, referencing the case of a man and his disabled mother who were offered a home in an estate which was about to be demolished.
Both Coad and former Grenfell Tower residents have insisted that survivors should be rehoused in like-for-like properties.
The scorched shell of Grenfell Tower against the north Kensington skyline
One resident, who lost his home in the blaze, explained that he was still living in a hotel because the places he had been offered were unsuitable.
He said: “We’ve been offered two places to move into. One is Westminster Council and this is out of our borough and so we turned it down. The other is a basement flat in Earl’s Court next to a very busy road and we assessed the situation and we decided to turn that one down as well.
“When you have one that will match my needs, my standard of living, my comfort that I was in before, then I will accept it.
“Don’t forget it is due to the negligence of people, with responsiblity that did not do their job properly that our tower burned and lots of people died.”
His views were echoed by Thomasina Hessle, who also lost her home, who said: “It’s important to us…that we get like-for-like tenancy. It would be unfair to suddenly change them to a five-year tenancy rather than the permanent one like they had.
“The locations are too far so it’s impossible for the school run, it’s impossible to get to your GP, it’s very difficult to connect with your community and your support.”
Coad called for Sir Martin Moore-Bick to be withdrawn from his role as head of the Grenfell Tower inquiry
Coad also expressed her concerns about the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick as the head of the inquiry into the tragedy, which is believed to have killed around 80 people.
She insisted he was not the right person for the job and called for him to be withdrawn from the role, saying: “How anybody like that could have any empathy for what these people have been through, I just don’t understand. We need somebody we can trust there.”
“A technocrat is not really what we need right now. Yes, we need somebody who can do the detail but we need somebody who can understand human beings as well and understand what they’ve been through. I’ve been talking to hundreds of people..they need someone they can talk to, somebody with a human face.
“I don’t think he should do it, I don’t think there’ll be any credibility and some people have said they won’t cooperate with it so I don’t think it’s going to work.”
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