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Survivors still let down 6 months on

Labour demands action from government to address its failings. By Felicity Collier

LABOUR is demanding answers and action from the government, six months on from the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Jeremy Corbyn accused the government today of failing the survivors, and branded it a disgrace that the majority of residents have still not been properly housed.

The Labour leader said: “Six months on from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the government is failing to learn its lessons and, more importantly, failing the survivors.

“It is a disgrace that the majority of Grenfell residents have still not been given homes and that tower blocks across our country have still not been made safe. We need answers from the government and we need action.”

Shadow housing secretary John Healey has written to the Prime Minister, urging her to address several areas of failure including rehousing, testing of other blocks and funding.

The calls came as Britain’s human rights watchdog announced that it will conduct a review into the conduct of the government and Kensington and Chelsea Council before and after the fire.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has pledged to ensure that any critical shortcomings are not “overlooked” in its probe into the deadly fire which killed 71 people on June 14.

Its intervention comes amid concerns that the separate, judge-led public inquiry may neglect human rights issues.

The watchdog, which has had its budget slashed by the Tories, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire caused catastrophic loss of life for which the state may have been responsible.

“More than 70 people died in homes managed by the state. They should have been safe and they were not.”

The EHRC will consider whether authorities failed in their duty to protect human life after residents’ warnings about fire safety failings were ignored.

It will also look at the council’s obligation under international human rights law to provide “adequate and safe housing,” and will likely take into account the flammable cladding system that was wrapped around the council-owned tower in the months before the fire.

The work, expected to conclude by April, will also review whether tenants received adequate access to justice.

EHRC chair David Isaac said: “From the right to life to the duty to provide adequate housing, there are several areas where the state fell short in its duties to its citizens and these must be properly addressed.”

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