Grenfell survivors fear being “badly let down” by the government’s proposals to reform social housing in the wake of the tragedy, a survivor told MPs yesterday.
Eddie Daffarn yesterday told members of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee about his dissatisfaction with the government’s response to the fire.
“In our dealings with national government, we have seen a combination of incompetence and indifference. Throw in Brexit and you get nowhere,” he said.
Mr Daffarn, who escaped from the 16th floor on the night of the blaze, is one of the authors of the Grenfell Action Group blog, which warned of a “catastrophic event” at the tower, before the fire in June 2017.
Discussing the government’s response to the Social Housing Green Paper, Mr Daffarn warned survivors fear being disappointed by the policy proposals.
The green paper was published last August, with the delayed response to a consultation on its proposals expected in the autumn.
Survivors have called for the government to go further than the measures proposed in the paper – in particular, by establishing a new regulator to police standards of living in the sector.
“If you live in social housing and have a complaint about where you live, the primary way of complaining is to take your phone, take a photo, upload it onto Twitter and hope to embarrass your housing provider enough that they take action. After Grenfell, that isn’t good enough,” he said.
“We worry that we are going to be badly let down with the Social Housing Green Paper and that will be a big let down to our whole community.
“Parliament needs to create a document that really makes a difference. We are sick and tired of being told by ministers that government is tough and government takes time.”
The then-communities secretary Sajid Javid first announced the Social Housing Green Paper in September 2017, just three months after the fire.
He said it would be a “wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review” of the issues facing the social housing sector and the “most substantial report of its kind for a generation”.
However, the paper was finally published in August 2018 after months of delays and ministerial reshuffles. Its proposals were widely panned and a key proposal – league tables of social housing providers – is understood to have already been ditched.
The government has been consulting on the paper but the response has again been delayed, with Theresa May last month promising it would be published by autumn.
Mr Daffarn was joined on the panel by two other members of the bereaved and survivors group Grenfell United, who criticised the government’s response to the issue of cladding on other buildings, among other issues.
On cladding, Adel Chaoui said: “To be brutally blunt, two years after the worst fire since the Blitz, the government’s inability to recognise the scale of the problem means it is still playing with fire.”
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government was contacted for comment.