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London mayor calls for new social housing commissioner

sadiq khan
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Sadiq Khan has urged the prime minister to appoint a commissioner for social housing residents in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire

The London mayor said an independent commissioner would ensure that residents’ voices were central to future decisions about social housing. It follows his disappointment that the terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower public inquiry will not cover the wider policy around social housing.

Khan said residents needed to be at the ‘heart of decision-making’ about the future of social housing, and that Theresa May should work with both him and residents to develop a ‘package of measures’ which will ‘guarantee they have a much stronger voice’.

He added: ‘I welcomed the government’s decision to establish the Grenfell public inquiry, but I have been clear that the terms of reference are not as broad as I and many residents would have liked.

‘It is crucial that social housing residents are able to have confidence that all the factors which led to the fire and the lacklustre response will be identified and addressed quickly and independently.’

Khan’s proposal for a social housing commissioner is one of a number of measures he has proposed for social housing residents, which he will begin consultation on when he publishes the draft London Housing Strategy later this month.

Other proposals include opening up access for residents to the housing ombudsman and the social housing regulator, and making sure the regulator is ‘genuinely responsive’ to the concerns of tenants and leaseholders on estates. 

Steve Bullock, London Councils’ executive member for housing, said: ‘In the wake of the Grenfell disaster, the safety of London’s tenants in private, local authority and housing association homes must be the paramount concern for central and local government.

‘A new regulatory regime must ensure that the voices of London’s tenants and leaseholders are built into its structure and reflected in its culture.’

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