“The Grenfell Tower fire was a traumatic and devastating event, the consequences of which will affect local communities for years to come.
Aside from the anguish and loss being felt by residents and victims, there is deep anger that their safety concerns were ignored in the months and years before this disaster.
The Grenfell fire has shone a light on both central and local government’s increasingly dismissive attitude towards social accommodation tenants and their needs.
HLPA welcomes the announcement of a Public Inquiry. HLPA believes the scope of the inquiry must be sufficiently broad to allow an examination of whether there is a culture of disregard for social tenants permeating through government.
In particular, HLPA notes the following in respect of Grenfell:
· The victims of this fire were mainly social sector tenants and poor;
· The victims had, for some time, been complaining about the adequacy of their accommodation and, specifically, about the safety of it. These concerns appear to have been ignored;
· The attack on legal aid has had a real impact on access to justice. The residents of Grenfell Tower were unable to secure expert legal assistance to further their concerns;
More broadly, HLPA notes:
· The failure in local government to apply and/or enforce regulations relating to safety and habitation – whether in social or private accommodation;
· The urgent need to overhaul the primary and secondary legislation relating to the standard of accommodation, whether private or social, in order to provide residents with remedies that are meaningful and enforceable
HLPA’s objective since its creation has been to promote, foster and develop the rights of homeless persons, tenants and others who receive housing services or who are disadvantaged in the provision of housing. HLPA remains committed to fulfilling this objective to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster in the months and years ahead ”.
HLPA Executive Committee