Lambeth has spent £5m on post-Grenfell safety works. In his speech to full council last week, Cllr David Amos called for the Government to fulfill the promises of financial support they made after the tragedy.
"We have already heard how difficult our continuing financial challenges are. Others on my side at least, have set out the Council’s determination to provide first class and responsive services for Lambeth’s residents.
I will focus my remarks on how we are dealing with housing fire safety following the terrible tragedy at Grenfell. What we are doing is despite the immense pressures caused by the relentless loss in central funding. Making housing safety the top priority has brought together: our absolute commitment to community engagement, the pragmatic use of precious resources, and the deployment of dedicated and expert staff. Unlike certain Tory councils - we are not throwing in the towel.
Lambeth Housing Services has a massive day job. As local councillors, we get first hand evidence of what needs to be done to deal with repairs efficiently. Over the past six years, the Council has invested £490m in improving the quality of council homes. In one year alone, Lambeth Housing undertook 60,000 repairs - and tenant satisfaction is at its highest level ever. Doing well and determined to do even better.
Making residents feel safer and be safer in their homes is a top priority for the Council. American campaigner Marian Edelman said: “The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make the nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place”. Since the Grenfell fire, we’ve worked closely with local tenant and leaseholder groups to reassure residents about the council’s fire safety record. We’ve invested £5m on additional fire safety measures over the last eight months and we will always follow the recommendations of the Fire Service to keep our residents safe.
How tenant and resident associations have responded has been awe-inspiring. Take Ethelred Towers TRA – with three of the Council’s 27 tall towers – directly engaging with the Council to make homes safe. This has included forensic scrutiny of the most stringent Fire Risk Assessment Level 4. All FRAs will be published by the end of March.
The recent Scrutiny Committee heard how the Council is directly contributing to the Government’s Review of inadequate fire safety regulations. We are already implementing likely recommendations in advance of the final report. This means all works are checked against the Fire Brigade Toolkit and we are not waiting to act on cladding.
What I heard in the wake of Grenfell was Government saying get fire safety sorted and don’t delay due to cost. I heard - we all heard - the Minister and the Prime Minister offer financial support. A hollow offer as no financial support has been forthcoming. Local residents support Cllr Peck’s continued efforts to report on the mounting costs and secure actual Government support. We should all unite to make this call for the sake of Lambeth residents.
Please support the budget motion this evening."
Cllr David Amos, North Lambeth Neighbourhood Lead