POLITICS

Grenfell Survivors Offered 'Budget Hotels' As Ministers Accused Of Housing 'Lie'

'What on earth is going on here? There are empty homes all across the borough.'

17/07/2017 17:34

Grenfell Tower survivors are staying in “budget hotels” as ministers stand accused of failing to offer them decent housing. 

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter has accused the Government of a “lie” on its housing offer to victims as cheap hotels in his constituency were “being booked by the month” for Grenfell families. 

Taking questions in Westminster, Sajid Javid confirmed that of 220 households affected by the blaze, 169 have been offered temporary homes.

But the Communities Secretary admitted just 30 of those families had taken up the offer and fewer still - nine - have actually moved in, leading MPs to question how many homes were “unsuitable”.

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Grenfell tower in North Kensington

Slaughter called on the Government to force Kensington and Chelsea council to use the £274m it has in reserves to invest in social homes. 

“A growing number of Grenfell survivors are being placed in budget hotels in my constituency as the central London hotels fill up for the tourist season,” he said. 

“Despite these being unsuitable for long stays, especially for young families, they are being booked by the month. This gives the lie to the fact that the Government has suitable accommodation ready; not temporary, not unsuitable accommodation, permanent accommodation. 

“Will the Secretary of State ask Kensington and Chelsea to take some of the £274m it has on its balance sheet and go and buy a couple of hundred homes and make sure these people have decent housing?”

It comes more than a month after the fire claimed the lives of more than 80 people and after ministers pledged all survivors would be housed within three weeks.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire with MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad 

It was revealed last week that one family was offered a flat in a tower block while a disabled woman was asked if she would live in a building with no lift.

Javid insisted “money is not the issue” but Slaughter mouthed the words “that’s not true” when the Communities Secretary said survivors were driving the delay. 

Javid said: “We have made it absolutely clear that in terms of finding the victims of Grenfell Tower permanent homes that we will do whatever it takes, and that is exactly what we are doing but we will be led by them themselves and what they need at their pace.” 

Emma Dent Coad, tLabour MP for Kensington, said survivors were refusing temporary accommodation because just “one single unsuitable offer” was made.

She said: “What on earth is going on here? There are empty homes all across the borough and they are still not being taken up. 

“They are being offered unsuitable homes.” 

Javid said he would “take very seriously” any occasion families were made an “unsuitable” offer.

He claimed, however, that many survivors were not “ready” to move. 

He said: “As she will know from talking to her constituents, many families don’t feel ready to move into temporary accommodation yet and we will absolutely respect their wishes.”

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