Briefing: Debate on the response to Grenfell

By: Poppy Terry
Published: June 2019

Briefing: Response to Grenfell

The Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017, in which fire consumed a 24-storey block of predominately social housing flats, was one of the worst urban disasters in recent history. The horrific scenes and loss of life shocked the nation, raising major questions about how such a disaster could happen in the centre of the capital city of a country with the wealth and regulatory standards of 21st-century Britain.

Following this appalling tragedy, Shelter appointed a commission of 16 people to lead a national conversation about the future of social housing in England. The goal of the commissioners was to explore the future of public housing in the 21st century and to understand the experiences of social housing tenants in England. They examined how social housing needs to change to meet the challenges of the housing crisis we face and how we, as a country, should best respond to tenants’ experiences.

The Commission report calls on the government to:

  • Rediscover publicly built housing as a key pillar of our national infrastructure by building 3.1 million new social homes over the next 20 years

  • Protect tenants by introducing a new, separate social housing regulator responsible for proactively enforcing consumer housing standards