Yvette Williams of Justice 4 Grenfell.

This is ghoulish: It seems Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council may still be taking rent money from the dead and missing residents of Grenfell Tower.

Watch this video of Yvette Williams, from campaigning group Justice 4 Grenfell, explaining the situation:

Ms Williams had previously said:

The cynic in me is whispering that it is an almost-perfect scam; because the emergency services have been gagged, and cannot say whether more than 79 people are dead, the council can take money from the missing people’s bank accounts – never mind the fact that, under housing law, the authority is clearly in breach of contract because nobody could say Grenfell Tower is suitable accommodation now!

The money would then sit in KCBC’s bank account, accumulating interest and adding to the £270+ million of reserves owned by that very rich authority, until the number and names of the dead are finally confirmed – an event which may not happen until sometime around Christmas.

Only then will relatives or those empowered as executors of the dead people’s estates be able to access the financial details of the deceased and find out whether they have still been charged rent, and they would still have to challenge the council for the return of the funds – a matter that could take several more months.

When they council finally pays the money back, it would keep any interest earned on it.

If that is what has happened here, I do not think words exist that could adequately express my disgust.

Meanwhile, council representatives are trying to brush off criticism. Listen to the state of this:

It’s a “tiny thing”, according to this (Tory, of course) councillor. She changed her tune straight away but the slip gave her away.

All too true!

There has been better news. Look at this show of solidarity with the victims of Grenfell – happening all over London:

And then the resignations started – prompted by this?

Shortly after, the first quitter appeared:

Does “to assist with the inquiry” mean “to spend more time with his lawyers”?

He was swiftly followed by KCBC leader Nick Paget-Brown:

I had something to say about this:

And so did Labour:

Perhaps the council’s deputy leader should also be considering his position, after Private Eye revealed his comments about Grenfell’s cladding after it was installed last year:

Mr Paget-Brown had to go after a farcical attempt to ban the press and the public from a council meeting held to discuss the inferno at Grenfell Tower. Apparently he claimed he had taken legal advice that it was permissible (it wasn’t):

Representatives of the press had to get a High Court order, forbidding the council from holding its discussions in closed session – and now The Guardian has demanded assurances that no further such attempt will be made:

Of course, Councillor “Tiny Thing” Faulks was on hand to claim the whole fiasco was a storm in a teacup:

Not everybody was running to their lawyer for cover, though. Rydon Construction, the firm responsible for putting flammable cladding around every resident of Grenfell, is threatening legal action against anybody who makes accusations about its conduct:

Considering the circumstances, the response has been predictable:

Labour MPs, and survivors’ groups, have called for KCBC to be stripped of its powers to handle the ongoing crisis:

The fact that no accurate count of the dead is likely for many months is a source of huge frustration to the survivors of Grenfell and campaigners who are helping them. They have launched their own, independent, attempt to find the answers the authorities won’t give them:

Finally, concerns have been raised that the inquiry into what happened at Grenfell Tower is being launched under terms that are far too narrow. The judge appointed to chair it, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, has already said as much and others have joined their voices to his:

Perhaps the last word should go to This Site’s old friend, Samuel Miller. With a canny eye for an appropriate comparison, he tweeted this:

I spent two years trying to get Mr Duncan Smith to release mortality statistics of people claiming sickness and disability benefits, and when they were finally published, they were incomplete – so I hope you understand exactly what Mr Miller means.

(More information about Grenfell is coming out constantly. This is the second article I have written today (Sunday, July 2) on the fallout from the fire – you can read the other by visiting this address.)

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