Jeremy Corbyn demands 'answers' and 'action' over Grenfell Tower tragedy

The Government is "failing" Grenfell Tower survivors by leaving many homeless and without faith in the public inquiry six months on, Labour has warned.

Jeremy Corbyn demanded action from the Prime Minister after it emerged more than 100 households that escaped the blaze were facing Christmas in hotels.

Only 42 families from the tower have moved in to permanent new homes since the fire on June 14, a pace described by the Labour leader as a "disgrace".

(Jonathan Brady/PA)
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

This week will see survivors and bereaved families mark the six month anniversary of the tragedy, while the public inquiry into its causes will hold two hearings.

Mr Corbyn said in a statement: "Six months on from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government is failing to learn its lessons and, more importantly, failing the survivors.

"It is a disgrace that the majority of Grenfell residents have still not been given homes and that tower blocks across our country have still not been made safe.

"We need answers from the Government and we need action."

The judge-led probe into the disaster was thrust back into the spotlight over the weekend as Labour backed an overhaul of its format and Britain's official human rights watchdog expressed misgivings.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey wrote to the Prime Minister asking if she would respond to a petition launched by bereaved families and survivors in recent weeks.

John Healey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
John Healey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It called on her to install an expert panel from a diverse range of backgrounds to sit alongside inquiry head Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who has been criticised for being out of touch.

Mr Healey said: "It is clear that doing so will strengthen survivor's confidence in the inquiry and increase their willingness to participate, both considerations that are absolutely vital to the inquiry's success."

He also asked for clarity on how the legal costs of the survivors and victims' families would be covered.

On Monday the Equality and Human Rights Commision (EHRC) announced its own investigation into the blaze, examining whether authorities failed in their legal obligations to residents.

This includes whether Kensington and Chelsea Council fell short in its duty to provide safe housing to tenants and protect their lives prior to the disaster.

Its decision to carry out an independent review will be interpreted by some as a vote of no confidence in certain aspects of Sir Martin's work.

A Government spokesman said: "We expect the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to do whatever is necessary to ensure households can move into settled homes as swiftly as possible, taking into account individual needs.

"The council is moving at the pace of the families and individuals involved, and all families that lost their homes in the fire have been offered temporary or permanent accommodation.

"Hundreds of homes have been acquired to give people as much choice as a possible - nobody will be forced to move until they are ready"