Geoffrey Clifton-Brown calls for national taskforce to co-ordinate in times of disaster

22nd June 2017

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown recounts his experience of visiting the Grenfell Tower area and highlights the need for better co-ordination of voluntary and government bodies. He backs the Prime Minister's call for a high-level taskforce to operate in times of national disaster.

My right hon. Friend might be interested to know that I spent about three hours on Monday quietly walking around the Grenfell Tower area talking to people. I met traumatised victims who did not want to go into the centres to get help, so clearly people need to go out to them. They were angry that there was no clear housing policy on when and where they were going to be rehoused. Above all, I found an enormous amount of work being done by voluntary bodies—all sorts of bodies—but there was a clear lack of co-ordination on how those bodies were to move forward together. I strongly support what my right hon. Friend has said this morning about establishing a high-level Government taskforce that is able to go into a similar disaster. It should be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to take over from the immediate Gold Command.

 

I thank my hon. Friend for the work he has done and the feedback he has provided to Ministers following his conversations with residents and victims on the ground. He is absolutely right: the point has been made to key workers that they need to go out to see people, to ensure that they know what is available to them, rather than just expecting them to come into the centre. I can assure him that we are looking actively at what further resilience we can put into the system by establishing the sort of taskforce that he and I have both spoken about. None of us wants to see a circumstance like this happen again, but we must ensure that there is full resilience, where disasters take place.

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