Three years since the Grenfell disaster and nothing seems to have changed | Annie Lewis

This week marks three years since the Grenfell fire tragedy – the biggest domestic blaze since the Second World War which stole more than 72 lives, injured 70 residents and traumatised 223 people who escaped and hundreds of others across the UK.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 3:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 7:22 pm
A mourner pays respects on June 14, 2020 in London, England. Picture by Anselm Ebulue/Getty Images.

What started as a kitchen fire has rightly blown up into an issue for society: why, three years on, do many survivors feel left behind and forgotten?

Many people say Theresa May’s biggest failure wasn’t Brexit, but her inability to act and help those displaced by the fire. In 2019, she was called ‘disgraceful’ by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) for citing her response to the disaster as a proud part of her legacy.

So as thousands of people commemorated Grenfell’s anniversary online while church bells rang out on June 14, our current prime minister Boris Johnson vowed that the country was working to ensure such a tragedy could never happen again. If so, then why is his government not working to help, progress and protect not only the survivors who haven’t been rehoused, but also hundreds of others who live in towers similar to Grenfell?

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The inferno was blamed on the type of cladding which coated the tower built in one of London’s richest boroughs – oh, the horrific irony. A parliamentary committee revealed that removing such cladding on every building nationwide could cost up to £15bn.

Three years on, survivors and relatives are understandably still in disbelief that a public inquiry into the disaster has not yet concluded. All those affected by the Grenfell disaster deserve answers, but many are losing faith that any justice will ever be served.

The government needs to learn from such mistakes and also notice the stark and shocking link between the numbers of fires and poverty and social deprivation. For Johnson to ensure this tragedy never recurs, he needs to look at the core of the problem: social welfare.

We didn’t just elect Johnson to sort Brexit, did we? He no longer has just that on his agenda and to make his prime ministerial term successful, he needs to deal with several issues. ​​And Grenfell should be high on his priority list.

Marcus Rashford is a force for good for many children

Approximately 1.3m UK children enjoy free school meals five days a week, 39 weeks a year.

When schools closed in March thousands of families across the UK were worried their children might go hungry. The government introduced a voucher sc heme for parents to use in the absence of free meals.

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford spoke from the heart and personal experience when he penned his open letter urging the government to continue the scheme in the summer. Its power forced a Boris Johnson U-turn yesterday.

Like most top players Rashford is a role model. Most don’t use it well. Rashford did.

Is it fair for Europe to banish British tourists this summer?

The Spanish government is considering not fully opening the country to British holidaymakers because of the UK’s quarantine rules.

Although the Spanish prime minister announced many European visitors could holiday at the end of June, a foreign affairs minister has warned Spain may retain a two-week quarantine rules for UK visitors. Similar scenes are happening in Greece after its government changed its stance to now disallow UK flights to land from June 15.

It looks like we Brits are being left out of the holiday fun this year. But who can blame other countries for excluding us when we’re the worst affected in Europe?