British Labour political leader Jermey Corbyn has called for the empty homes of wealthy people in Kensington to be given to those who are now homeless after a huge fire ripped through the 24-story Grenfell Tower in London last week.
Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 is a block of public housing flats in North Kensington, west London, that housed approximately 600 people. It is now being estimated that 79 people are dead, missing or presumed dead following the tragic fire.
“Kensington is a tale of two cities,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn recently said. “The south part of Kensington is incredibly wealthy, it’s the wealthiest part of the whole country. The ward where this fire took place is, I think, the poorest ward in the whole country and properties must be found – requisitioned if necessary – to make sure those residents do get re-housed locally.”
Corbyn said requisitioning the vacant homes would mean that citizens stay local. The government there has committed to providing housing for all those residents who lost their homes in the fire.
“It can’t be acceptable that in London we have luxury buildings and luxury flats left empty as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live,” Corbyn added. “We have to address these issues.”
There is now a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire.
The fire minister, Nick Hurd, said this was a “national tragedy.” He also vowed to leave “no stone unturned.”
Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that those residents left homeless would receive at least £5,500, or about $7,000, from a government emergency fund. Residents were to receive £500, or about $637, in cash, followed by a bank payment for the remainder of the money.
May said emergency services have “been working tirelessly in horrific conditions, and I have been overwhelmed by their professionalism and their bravery.”
“I heard stories of firefighters running into the building being protected from the falling debris by police officers using their riot shields,” May added. “And we thank all our emergency services for the incredible work that they have done.”