Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding the 38 Degrees campaign for a new regulator for social housing following the Grenfell Tower fire. My Labour colleagues and I support the campaign by Grenfell United to give residents in social housing the rights and protections they deserve.
Almost two years on from this tragedy, the country remains shocked by the devastating images of that night and by the 72 lives lost. My thoughts remain with the families and friends of the victims and of those who survived this terrible event.
I am concerned that the action taken by the Government has been too slow and too weak on every front. I and many of my MP colleagues asked important questions in the Commons in the aftermath of the tragedy, yet many survivors are still living in hotels and temporary accommodation rather than the permanent homes they were promised, and eight in ten of the other blocks around the country with Grenfell-style cladding have still not had it removed.
I believe the Government must make it a priority to ensure that all survivors rehoused and set a deadline for all blocks to be made safe, with tough new sanctions for high-rise residential owners who fail to replace dangerous cladding.
Going forward, it is vital that we have a new system of social housing regulation that puts the rights and interests of residents at its heart. I am disappointed that the Government abolished the National Tenant Voice, which supported social housing residents’ rights and promoted their voice in national policy-making. Ministers also changed the remit of the social housing regulator to focus on financial viability and professional guidance rather than on consumer standards. I believe this was a backwards step for social housing residents and I support the establishment of a new regulator to focus on holding social landlords to account.