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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Why the delay in distributing the £20 million donated thus far?

Grenfell Tower residents in uproar over failure to distribute donations

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Barry Quirk, the interim chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council

The television outside broadcast units and the "anchor" presenters have gone, to report no doubt on other important issues, with very few exceptions the newspaper journalists and photographers have moved on to cover the imploding conservative party, or Trump in Paris or David Davis and the Brexit negotiations or some other pressing "news" item, leaving a few "cub reporters" with their Brownie box camera's behind, just in case something happens.

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 All that remains of this story is, in a few places still smouldering, blackened and chard 24 storey 220 feet high structure which was once home to around 600 people living in 129 apartments. The other thing hat remains of course are the victims. The vast majority of these victims are still in "temporary" accommodation, over one month on from the fire on that dreadful night which killed so many people. The "authorities" still stick to the story that 80 people are known to have died, but other sources, including police and firemen who were in attendance on the night, insist that the true figure is closer to 200. What ever the final death toll may be, it is too many and is a result of man made incompetence, greed, corner cutting and government expenditure cuts to emergency services going back over the last 10 years. On top of all this, that of the £20 million donated by public fund raisers, ad hoc donations and individulal charities, since June, only £800k has been distributed to victims. Those involved in managing the money say they "have to ensure it is properly accounted for and it reaches the right people", which taken on face value is a reasonable position, but where victims of the fire have lost everything and still rely on "temporary accommodation" the failure to distribte these substantial donations is bordering on scandalous. This seems to be yet another example of "authorities" becoming obsessed with their own systems and procedures and consequently losing site of the real objective of providing relief for the victims.
There have already been resignations from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea amongst council members and officers, but this is not enough. The chair of the inquiry former court of appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, has already come in for criticism by suggesting that his inquiry will be on a narrow base, and his patronising attitude towards survivors and residents suggests that this will be a less than satisfactory process. There is a compelling case for holding inquests into these deaths which can call evidence from witnesses under oath and has far more credibility and muscle than an inquiry. What we must not have is a process which drags on for 28 years before the victims have any form of justice.

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