Singer Lily Allen has accused the mainstream media and government of covering up the Grenfell Tower fire death toll, live on Channel 4 News. Anchor Jon Snow was interviewing the singer when she said:
I feel like the government are trying to micromanage people’s grieving here… I’ve never in my entire life seen an event like this, where the death count has been downplayed by the mainstream media. 17? I’m sorry, but I’m hearing from people that the figure is much closer to 150, and that many of those people are children.
The mainstream media has so far been reporting the death toll at 17.
Those are off the record numbers that I’ve been given from policemen and from firemen.
The difficulty is that they have to identify bodies. And there can be very little left in this building.
Allen also told Channel 4 News:
I appreciate that. But these are families. And when… you identify a body, you report it to the next of kin. There are no next of kin.
Conservative cuts to emergency services have come under intense scrutiny since the Grenfell Tower fire. Tory cuts in London resulted in ten fire stations closing, three of which were in the area of Grenfell Tower. In the UK as a whole, 10,000 firefighters – one in six – have been cut since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition cut fire and rescue funding by 30%. And at the Grenfell Tower fire, some firefighters have said cuts have taken a serious toll on operations.
Allen said on Channel 4:
If people’s hope turns to anger, they’ve got a real problem on their hands.
She claims the media and government are downplaying the Grenfell fire death toll. And there could well be a reckoning in the pipeline for a Conservative deregulatory agenda that appears to trample over the safety of working class residents. Earlier on 15 June, for example, Labour MP David Lammy branded the fire “corporate manslaughter”.
And there are clearly many questions that need answering. Urgently.
– If you are concerned about anyone from Grenfell Tower, call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.
– If you’re a lawyer and you’re willing to help, contact the North Kensington Law Centre on 020 8969 7473.
– Donate to the Grenfell Tower Appeal.
– If you’re in London, go to the Grenfell Tower Benefit. The line-up features Jeremy Hardy, Josie Long, Heydon Prowse, Mark Thomas and Imran Yusuf.
– Join Justice for Grenfell outside the Department for Communities and Local Government at 6pm on 16 June.
Featured image via screenshot