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Tenants illegally subletting urged to come forward to establish true death toll

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid made the plea to allow closure for families whose loved ones are still missing.

Tenants illegally subletting flats in Grenfell Tower have been urged to come forward to allow emergency services to establish the true death toll from the blaze.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid made the plea to allow closure for families whose loved ones are still missing, after top prosecutors confirmed that people would not be charged for coming forward.

All the survivors of the blaze will have been offered temporary accommodation by Wednesday, in line with Theresa May’s pledge to rehouse those affected within three weeks, Mr Javid told MPs.

He also announced that all 181 samples of cladding that had been tested so far had failed fire safety tests.

Mr Javid, speaking during an urgent statement in the Commons, said: “There may have been people living in flats that were illegally sublet who have no idea about the true status of their tenancy.

“Their families want to know if they perished in the fire.

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Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid insists tenants illegally sub-letting at Grenfell Tower should come forward and will not be prosecuted (PA)

“These are their sons, their daughters, their brothers, their sisters. They need closure and it’s the least that they deserve.

“But that can’t happen unless we have the information we need, so we are urging anyone with that information to come forward and to do so as quickly as they can.”

Mr Javid said the Government was on course to honour the three-week commitment to those affected by the fire, which killed at least 80 people.

However he said people would not be forced to take up the offer of temporary accommodation if they were unhappy with it.

Mr Javid said: “Some families have indicated that they wanted to remain as close as possible to their former home but when they received their offer, took a look at the property, they decided it would be easier to deal with their bereavement if they moved further away.

“Some families have decided that for the same reasons they would prefer to remain in hotels for the time being.

“Other households have indicated they would prefer to wait until permanent accommodation becomes available.

“Every household will receive an offer of temporary accommodation by this Wednesday but every household will be given the space to make this transition at their own pace and in a way that helps them recover from this tragedy.”

He said it was “disturbing” that all 181 samples of cladding had failed when tested, urging landlords to prioritise making buildings safe and to provide alternative accommodation while remedial work is carried out.

Mr Javid said he had asked for the testing regime to be independently reviewed following the 100% failure rate and it had been found to be sound.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey accused ministers of being “off the pace at every stage” since the fire, telling the Commons they were “too slow to grasp the scale of the problems people are facing and too slow to act”.

“For the Grenfell Tower survivors, for the victims’ families, and for the local community in North Kensington, underlying everything is the question of trust: that those in positions of power mean what they say, do what they promise and don’t drag their feet before acting to deal with the problems.

“That’s a powerful message that must be understood by ministers, Kensington and Chelsea Council and the chair of the public inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.”

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