Statement on Grenfell Tower death toll
On June 25th I published the following statement regarding Grenfell Tower and the death toll, which had remained at 79 for over a week:
"A figure of 79 is far, far too low and is fuelling suspicion of a cover-up. Almost two weeks on and having spent time with survivors this week it is difficult to describe the pain people are going through. Holding out hope for loved ones that they know deep down lost their lives in Grenfell Tower is eating people up inside and breaking them down.
The lack of information about the numbers of victims and survivors is driving a wedge between authorities and those they are elected to serve. Residents saw dozens of people jumping out of windows to escape the fire. Bodies piled up in stairwells and corridors. Survivors cannot believe that the death toll has not risen.
Speaking to people on the ground, there is huge suspicion of a cover-up, with information being withheld for political reasons in an attempt to avoid fuelling anger or unrest. But it is frankly outrageous that in 2017, for example, mobile phone companies can't work out how many phones were in use in Grenfell Tower on an average night to at least get a sense of how many people were there that evening.
It is true that there will have been undocumented migrants, as well as people sub-letting their properties, but there is a huge amount of data that could build a picture of who was in Grenfell, including from HMRC, DWP, DVLA and council tax records as well as the electoral register and the TMO's own records
The fact is that the longer this goes on, the bigger the disconnect between RBKC and the community. There is zero trust right now. If the true numbers are withheld, the authorities will never regain the trust of the people and the community. It's that simple. So the authorities need to come forward now with whatever information they have to address the suspicion that a cover-up is underway."