Marcus Mumford has said there needs to be a “renewed sense of urgency” in resuming the Grenfell Tower Inquiry when the coronavirus crisis comes to an end.
The Mumford & Sons singer released his powerful charity cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to raise money for the families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, only days before the UK headed into lockdown last month.
Mumford – who is a leading trustee of the Grenfell Foundation – has now spoken to NME after the second stage of the ongoing enquiry into the 2017 blaze was postponed as a result of the pandemic.
“There’s a lot left to do,” he told NME. “A lot won’t be fixed and can’t be fixed, but there’s a lot happening at the same time, especially with the inquiry getting pushed back.
“I don’t think the government response has been enough and I don’t think it ever has been. I know efforts have been made and I don’t want to get into the politics of it, but I know that the justice issue is a major priority for people in the community.”
The enquiry is now in its second stage and aims to investigate the broader causes of the blaze at the West London tower block, which claimed the lives of 72 people in June 2017.
Describing the need for the enquiry to resume when public life returns, Mumford said: “It’s obvious right now that the inquiry had to be paused, but there does need to be a renewed sense of urgency when we come through coronavirus, for it not to slip down the agenda. That’s really important to me and to lots of people.”
Mumford also recalled how he first became involved with the foundation after witnessing the fire from his West London flat, which led him to support early relief efforts.
“I could see it from my window,” he said. “We were on the fourth floor of an apartment block, and like everyone we just went down with supplies first thing when the fire was still going. We became connected with people involved in the recovery, who were trying to find loved ones and trying to sort through the absolute mess of the aftermath.
“I’ve remained pretty closely involved with a number of the bereaved survivors and the wider community as well. In the wake of the fire, we were asked to set up Grenfell Foundation by Grenfell United – probably the most representative group of the bereaved and survivors.”
Mumford added: “It’s a really small but effective organisation, and one that’s trying to respond directly when people think that the market and the state both failed the community.”
Last month, Mumford also raised funds for the charity, as well as War Child UK, by releasing his own cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ . He had originally recorded for the soundtrack of an upcoming TV show from US comedian Jason Sudeikis.
He said of the track: “All the stars aligned, it was the right time to get it out. The labels waived royalties and Jason was happy to have it out there, although we could still use it in the show. It felt like something we could do quickly, partly to entertain people and partly to raise awareness of these charities that I know are doing great work during these tricky times.”
Mumford has been an outspoken voice on the Grenfell Tower tragedy, using the band’s acceptance speech for the 2019 Steinbeck Award to highlight the incident.