Grenfell Tower survivors ‘living in limbo’ after inquiry report delayed

Photo of Grenfell Tower survivors ‘living in limbo’ after inquiry report delayed
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Sir Martin Moore-Bick is chairman of the inquiry which is months behind schedule (Picture: PA)

Grieving family members and survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster feel ‘disregarded’ after a report on the night of the tragedy was delayed until October.

Victims participating in phase one of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry were expecting the first report to be released this spring.

But they were told in a letter today that writing it ‘has proved to be a far more complex and time-consuming task’ than anticipated.

She added: ‘That we are only finding this out now, when we were expecting the report to be published ahead of the two-year anniversary, shows how they continue to disregard survivors and bereaved through this process.’

The Grenfell Tower inferno killed 72 people and victims are demanding answers (Picture: PA)

The report follows the first phase of the inquiry, which is limited to what happened on the night of the June 14, 2017, when fire ripped through the west London tower block killing 72 people.

Solicitor to the inquiry Caroline Featherstone said in the letter that plans for the second phase are still due to go ahead in January 2020.

The letter said the report will set out ‘almost minute-by-minute’ detail on what happened on the night of the blaze including how it spread and what was happened on each floor.

It is also expected to involve in-depth analysis of responses from emergency services and other relevant organisations and what happened on the ground and incident control room.

Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick has previously said he does not consider it appropriate to make interim recommendations ahead of the report.

But some survivors have become frustrated that safety recommendations such as abandoning the ‘stay-put’ policy for buildings over 10 storeys are so far yet to be implemented.

Sir Martin has said making recommendations before the report would be inappropriate (Picture: PA)

Ms Elcock added: ‘It is survivors and bereaved that fought to get dangerous cladding banned.

‘There is still no change to the stay put policy, people are living in tower blocks without sprinklers and social housing residents across the country are still be ignored and mistreated.

‘It appears, despite everything survivors and bereaved said in the weeks after the fire, the inquiry has woefully underestimated the catastrophic complexity and scale of the failures that led to Grenfell.’

‘We want the inquiry and the criminal investigation to be thorough and to get to the truth, but there must be no more delays.

‘We are living in a limbo, increasingly frustrated and we need to know there will be some resolution soon. A slow justice is a painful justice for all of us.’

Campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said the delay has damaged people’s confidence in the inquiry which they they criticised over a lack of transparency and a ‘culture of secrecy and exclusion’.

They added: ‘This is another excuse on a long list of shifting the parameters of the inquiry and a lack of willingness to discuss with BSRs (bereaved, survivors and residents) how and why decisions are made.’

Deborah Coles, director of Inquest, a charity working with bereaved families added: ‘For months now the bereaved and survivors have been led to believe this report would be released in the spring.

‘It is unacceptable that nearly two years on, not one single recommendation has been made.

‘This is failing the families and survivors who placed their trust in this inquiry. It is failing those who continue to feel unsafe in their homes.

‘It appears that the inquiry team set deadlines for everybody else involved but not themselves.’

‘Uncertainty around time frames is causing grief, anguish and anger in the community. We heard this directly in our family consultation day.

‘Justice delayed is justice denied. Today’s announcement fails not only bereaved families and survivors but fails us all.’

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