KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA COUNCIL STILL CHARGING RENT FROM GRENFELL TOWER FIRE VICTIMS

Residents whose homes were destroyed in the Grenfell Tower disaster are still having their rents deducted by Kensington and Chelsea council, campaigners have claimed.

Yvette Williams, coordinator of Justice4Grenfell, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a survivor of the blaze made the shocking discovery after obtaining a new bank card and looking at her statement.

IBTPOTY2017 Pictures of the week
14 June 2017: Police stand at a security cordon as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower in west LondonDaniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

She said she believes there could be more people affected, however the exact number was not clear.

Williams said: “She came to me and said she had just got her bank card and that she went and looked at her bank statement and they had deducted rent for Grenfell Tower.

“It is, you would think, a simple process [to fix] as it can be done on a computer. It is quite clear that whatever is supposed to be happening down there isn’t happening – it is about what checks and balances are in place there.

“Of course she is distressed, we have all seen the tower and what it looks like, everyone is living there,” said Williams.

It comes amid growing anger at the council with residents claiming action is not being taken fast enough as frustration mounts at the lack of communication.

It also follows the resignation of council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown who was criticised for cancelling a cabinet meeting after earlier attempts to ban the press and the public failed.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has since called for the government to appoint independent commissioners to run the council until new elections can take place.

When questioned about the claim that rents were still being charged on the Today programme, Conservative councillor Catherine Faulks called the error a “tiny thing” but quickly corrected herself.

“Oh come on, that’s a tiny thing,” she said. “I mean it’s not a tiny thing for them it’s a huge thing and it’s very upsetting.

“But the council are in the process of trying to house 400 people. They’ve got people in hotels, they’ve got a social worker for every single family who is triaging them into a wrap-around service.

“I’m very sorry to hear that’s happened, but that person to whom that has happened will have one person connection they can go to to sort it out.”

Cllr Catherine Faulks: Grenfell residents still being charged rent is a ‘tiny thing’ & ‘there is a lot of hand holding going on’ 

In a later statement, a council spokesman said: “We are very sorry if this has happened and we are working to find out who has been affected so we can offer reassurance and an immediate refund.

“To the best of our knowledge the rent charges for Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk were stopped. But if anyone has had money inadvertently taken as part of a direct debit or standing order we will make arrangements to have it immediately refunded.”

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