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Bishop says 'serious questions' should be asked over Government's Grenfell policy

by Sophie Drew

The family of Grenfell victims are "enraged" by Government plans to maintain the highly controversial "stay put" advice.

The policy would see people forced to stay in their flats if the building became ablaze, until they could be rescued by responders.

An inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire found that the policy was a factor in the loss of lives. 

However, the UK Government maintain that it's the "safest" protocol. 

Bishop of Kensington, Rev Graham Tomlin, told Premier Christian News that he had concerns about the new white paper, where the government shared their intentions. 

He said: "My feeling is that safety is absolutely crucial at the heart of housing. When I was on the Archbishop's commission on housing, we identified five aspects of what good housing was like. One of those fundamental aspects was safety; people need to feel safe in their own homes. 

"I guess my initial reaction was, I'm not sure this did make people feel more safe."

Bishop Graham expressed particular concern over the difficulties faced by disabled people,  who may not be able to flee their houses at the last minute. 

He said: "It seems to me that, given that the public inquiry has raised serious questions about the 'stay put' advice, and particularly with regard to disabled people - and many of the people who died at 
Grenfell were disabled and couldn't get out because of that.

"I think serious questions are going to be asked about this 'stay put' advice.

"I can understand people who are really concerned about this move, to keep it in place where that seems to have been the cause of many people dying in Grenfell."

As part of his work, Bishop Graham has met with the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and those that lost loved ones in the blaze.

"I think people are disquieted by what they've heard yesterday", he continued.

"For many people at Grenfell, they were aware that the 'stay put' advice was perhaps a major factor in the large loss of life at Grenfell, and therefore, to hear that it's still in place, even though the public inquiry raised serious questions about it, it's difficult for them to hear, especially with the fifth anniversary just around the corner in a few weeks time. 

"So I think there is quite a strength of feeling, that we need a better approach to fire safety than the 'stay put' advice."

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