Council officials called Grenfell Tower area ‘little Africa’ and ‘refused visit’

Council officials called the Grenfell Tower area 'little Africa' and refused to visit the site, according to an MP.

Labour MP Emma Dent Coad said the attitude of Kensington and Chelsea Council was either 'racism or snobbery' after the fire claimed the lives of 72 people in June 2017.

Speaking as MPs criticised the response to the fire, Ms Dent Coad told the Commons: "A senior council officer was told to go down to the site but refused. He said, 'It's like little Africa down there'.

"Another said 'the area was full of people from the Tropics'

"A senior officer regularly in front of others referred to my neighbours as 'mussies'."

Ms Dent Coad, a councillor for the London borough, revealed she is also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the west London blaze, reports the Mail .

Kensington and Chelsea Council said it would write to Ms Dent Coad and investigate the allegations "urgently".

Ms Dent Coad also spoke about some of the "11,000 people affected to varying degrees" and how some are still waiting for help.

She spoke of "several suicides" and claimed "the type of trauma we have does not go away".

Grenfell United campaigners sat in the public gallery listening to the debate while wearing green, the campaign colour.

In a statement, Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said: "If these claims can be substantiated we will of course investigate them urgently, but I hope Emma would have reported them at the time as both a local councillor and MP.

"I will be writing to her directly to find out the details of the cases she outlined in the House of Commons."

Last month it was claimed ministers have "failed to learn the lessons of Grenfell" after research showed some fire brigades are so stretched they can only send two fire engines to tackle a high-rise blaze.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) branded it a “postcode lottery” and accused Fire Minister Nick Hurd of “utter complacency.”

Some 40 fire engines were mobilised to tackle the West London blaze in June 2017 

An FBU survey found two brigades – Durham and North Yorkshire – had just an allocation of just two pumps for a high rise fire.

The highest number was seven, but most had allocated just four.

At least 338 residential buildings across the country are wrapped in the same aluminium based flammable cladding which allowed the Grenfell Tower fire to spread so quickly.

A government spokesperson said: “Fire and rescue services have the resources they need and we are encouraged that the number of fire safety audits carried out on purpose-built flats of four or more storeys more than doubled, to nearly 6,600 in 2017-18, compared with the previous year.

“We have banned combustible cladding and are fully funding its replacement on high-rise residential buildings in the private and social housing sectors. We have also accepted all the recommendations of the independent Hackitt Review and are working to implement a major overhaul of building and fire safety regulations.”

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