London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has lambasted the treatment meted out to Grenfell Tower residents as a “total failure” and “disgrace”.
The Mayor’s intervention comes in the wake of the start of a new phase of the Grenfell Tower Inrquiy, whose focus is on the doomed tower block’s management, risk assessments and complaints procedure.
The Grenfell Tower fire on June 14, 2017 claimed 72 lives and is regarded as the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War.
Giving evidence to the public inquiry, the mayor was scathing of the performance and attitude of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (which owned Grenfell Tower) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Association (TMO – which managed the building on behalf of the council).
In an unusually strong rebuke, Khan said council officials had “manipulated” the complaints procedure by not only failing to record tenants’ “concerns” but more damningly treating residents as “troublemakers”.
"The mayor of London wishes to make clear that he regards the dismissive treatment of the tenants of Grenfell Tower when they were making justifiable and, as it turned out, prophetic complaints to be a disgrace", a written statement on behalf of Khan said.
Anne Studd QC, who is representing the London Mayor at the inquiry, claimed that when residents called to make a complaint, the phone conversations were not recorded.
Studd added that this contravened the TMO’s policy and by extension discriminated against residents whose command of the English language was not strong enough to file complaints in writing.
In conclusion, the London Mayor – via Studd – demanded that the inquiry “provide answers as to why residents' complaints, inquiries and questions were not appropriately answered" and "why no one took responsibility for this building being so dangerous in the event of a fire".