UK PM promises cash aid for tower fire survivors as anger mounts

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-19 09:24


May's response and that of her government has been criticized in media, by the public and by politicians.

The Independent newspaper ran a story saying "Ministers 'ignored warnings on fire safety' before Grenfell Tower inferno".

The government-supporting Daily Telegraph ran a story saying that the cladding used in the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower in 2016 was illegal if used on buildings taller than 10 meters. Grenfell Tower is 67 meters high.

The main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called for more action to help survivors with housing. Kensington is the richest part of London, with a significant number of homes owned by the very wealthy kept empty.

"There are a large number of deliberately kept vacant flats and properties all over London, it's called land banking. People with a lot of money but a house, buy a flat, keep it empty," said Corbyn, who called for the local council to requisition the empty homes for fire survivors.

In the Kensington district, Christians held outdoor prayer services in the morning to remember the dead, and Muslim services were held at a mosque in the afternoon in both English and Arabic for Muslims and non-Muslims.

The services drew crowds in their hundreds, despite temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade.

Criticism has also been made of the local authority reaction to the fire.

The response of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) the local municipal authority was labelled inadequate and poorly organized by opposition politicians on the council, and national political leaders for the first time called for the resignation of the RBKC leader and his senior management team.

The Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said: "There are growing questions for the Conservative-run council, both about the lead-up to the fire but crucially now in the terrible aftermath.

"This is a fiasco built on a tragedy, and the council leader, like the prime minister, does not appear to be getting to grips with the crisis. If he is incapable of doing so, he should go."

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