POLITICS

Grenfell Survivors Forced To Use Foodbanks As Council Accused Of 'Unprecedented Incompetence'

One disabled survivor sat in her own excrement when she was 'completely forgotten' by her carer

25/09/2017 13:23 | Updated 26 September 2017

Grenfell survivors have been forced to use foodbanks, Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad has revealed. 

Speaking at a Labour Party fringe in Brighton, Dent Coad railed against Kensington and Chelsea council for “unprecedented incompetence” in failing to care for those affected by the fatal tower block blaze. 

She said a “computer glitch” left one family unable to get cash from the council, meaning they had to go to a food bank to eat. 

One disabled woman, she said, had been moved between six different hotels and was left to sit in her own excrement as she had been “completely forgotten” by her carers. 

“After three months in hotels, people are losing hope and their physical and mental health is deteriorating fast,” she said. 

“One woman is stuck in a frankly shitty hotel and is very, very low. She is about to give birth and she has nowhere to go.

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Candles are lit by people attending a vigil held at the Maxilla Social Club, west London, to mark one hundred days since the Grenfell Tower fire.

“There is a volunteer working with her who has had to beg for clothing from Mothercare. Where is the £20m which has been collected for these people?

“Another survivor family was having trouble getting their money out of the council because of a computer glitch and ended up going to a foodbank.

“Survivors from Grenfell forced to go to foodbanks. It’s absolutely shocking.

“The worst case was a disabled survivor who has been moved six times and she was completely forgotten by her carers one day.

“She lay in bed all day, her phone was dead, no water and in her own excrement. It’s absolutely shocking.

“This is unprecedented incompetence and it is being covered up by the council and the government, willingly, every day while they try to divide and rule via our different campaign groups, I’m sorry to say.”

Dent Coad also alleged that volunteers the council had staffed a support centre with had been subject to a criminal record check and had been left to run a creche. 

Scotland Yard confirmed last week that officers are investigating eight cases of fraud and four of theft. 

PA Wire/PA Images
The fire in North Kensington killed at least 80 people on June 14

“Some of the stories are shocking,” said Dent Coad. “The council-run response centre is depressing and uninviting as well as run in an occasionally cavalier manner.

“On my first visit, I discovered that none of the volunteers were DBS checked. They were dealing with deeply traumatised and vulnerable people. They were helping to hand out cash. They were running a crèche.

“One of those volunteers that I had concerns about two months has finally been caught for an alleged fraud. There are other cases to come and it is down to the incompetence of the council and no coordination.”

She also claimed some survivors had been advised not to approach her for help as it would affect their chances of getting housing. 

“Some have been told not to speak to their MP, or not to speak out at all, or they will not get what they want,” she said. 

Councillor Elizabeth Campbell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “Emma’s team have raised previous issues directly with our Care for Grenfell team here at the council, so we were surprised that she mentioned these new cases in remarks at a conference before referring the issues to us.

“That said, and putting any politics to one side, we will be looking into this urgently and would welcome more details if they are available.”

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