Grenfell Tower: Thatcher-era privatisation has left the public helpless, says Ken Livingstone

Grenfell Tower: 'Privatisation has left the public unable to influence their own living standards', says Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone joined Sam Delaney (Stock image)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Privatisation has left the public unable to influence their own living standards and council housing needs to be taken away from private companies, according to Ken Livingstone.

The former London mayor, a long-time ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, made the comments after this morning's huge fire at Grenfell Tower in London, which left at least 12 people dead. 

The block was managed by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. A residents' organisation called the Grenfell Action Group claims several previous warnings of the tower block were ignored.

Speaking to Sam Delaney, Livingstone said the privatisation introduced in the 1980s and 1990s is responsible.

He said: "This [building] would have been designed about 50 years ago. In those days there were very strong guidelines about housebuilding, safety and security, and protection from fire. Thatcher took a lot of that away.

"Privatisation has just left no public influence at all over the way these things are."

The Government "can certainly take back all this council housing that has been outsourced," he continued. "There’s got to be someone who’s answerable to the public who has some degree of oversight."

For this to happen, he said, "the Government would have to give the mayor the power" to better oversee council housing in London.

Many people have volunteered in the area to help those who lived in the tower block in scenes of amazing selfnessness and generosity. Livingstone said it was reminiscent of the sort of stories his parents told him about the war, adding: "It takes this sort of horror to actually show the most amazing things about humanity."

Listen to the full interview above