by Emma Dent Coad, RBKC Councillor and former MP for Kensington
Commemorating three years since the atrocity of the Grenfell Tower fire has been especially painful this year. In a cruel twist, Coronavirus took the life of one of the Grenfell survivors. Families with children struggling with poor mental health due to the fire and its after-effects have been locked down, many in inadequate housing, unable to have a break from each other or enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Many in insecure work, or furloughed, or surviving on benefits, have also struggled with paying their bills, and putting food on the table.
We have numerous food banks and kitchens, and an army of people delivering what people need. But I’m outraged at those politicians, local and national, praising our local community’s ‘resilience’. Years of hammering local services with ‘efficiencies’ and heavy cuts have forced many people into destitution. How can they have the impertinence to praise those who are just about surviving a situation those in authority themselves have created? Will they hand out medals to those who survive the next round of cuts?
Handing out a few thousand pounds here and there for events, welcome though it would be, is no substitute for true structural change. In Kensington and Chelsea Labour Councillors will be scrutinising where every penny is spent over the next year.
We are fed up with the Council’s investment in spin and PR when we are fighting unemployment, malnutrition and second-rate adult social care. In Kensington and Chelsea we see ‘all cherry, no cake’, and I for one will continue the fight to reverse that.