It's been more than two months since a deadly blaze in Kensington, London — the richest borough in the UK — killed at least 80 people when the decorative cladding installed to make the building look nicer to rich people in nearby buildings caused the building to go up like a matchstick.
The Conservative council came in for criticism after the fire, amid claims that they'd slashed taxes for wealthy residents, leaving them without the budget to remediate the widely reported safety problems with the building (it didn't help that the Conservative party had previously declared war on "safety culture" and Conservative landlords sitting in Parliament voted down a tenant safety law).
More than two months later, the local council has finally unveiled its programme for rehoming the survivors of the blaze, a website where tenants can bid against one another for a few flats, using their special circumstances (lost relatives in the blaze, have young children) to trump one another's bids in order to get a place to live.
Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, called this the "fairest and quickest" way to give homes to the people who lost their homes in the fire. Tottenham MP David Lammy believes that this is inadequate, and says that instead, the council should find appropriate permanent accommodation for each and every family and support them through this process, not wash their hands of this responsibility so that traumatised and vulnerable people are bidding against each other for properties online."
Moyra Samuels, coordinator for Justice4Grenfell, said survivors felt "aggrieved" at having to compete against their neighbours.
"Really it would have been better to be assigned properties, it would have created less tension where there is already a lot of stress in the community," she said.
Grenfell Tower residents are right to feel betrayed by the Government
"RBKC has done this with good intentions but as usual it's done in a very piecemeal way and it's creating anxiety."
It comes as a majority of survivors remain in hotel accommodation.
Grenfell Tower: Council asks survivors to 'bid' against each other for permanent homes
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Dr Dunno, B3ta)