Support for Grenfell fire victims ‘was not good enough’

Theresa May has admitted that the support given to families in the hours following the Grenfell Tower fire “was not good enough”.

In a statement, the Prime Minister acknowledged the “huge frustrations” residents have experienced in trying to get answers from the council – and she vowed the public inquiry into the deadly blaze will be “open and transparent”.

Mrs May said the name of the judge who will head the inquiry is going to be announced in the next few days.

The PM also confirmed that she will be the person responsible for implementing the inquiry’s findings.

Dozens of people are feared to still be inside Grenfell Tower

She said: “People lost everything in the fire and were left in only the clothes they were wearing.

“I can confirm that a £5m emergency fund that I announced yesterday is now being distributed on the ground so people can buy clothes, food and other essentials. If more funding is required, it will be provided.

“Residents rightly want to know when new housing will be provided. I have fixed a deadline of three weeks for everybody affected to be found a home nearby.”

Mrs May added that she has requested “daily progress reports” to ensure victims are re-homed quickly.

Aalya Moses and her family

Resident Aalya Moses lost everything in fire

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for re-housing efforts to be “speeded up” and pressed Mrs May to make sure “the recovery operation receives all resources and expertise they need”.

On Saturday afternoon, victims of the tower block fire – along with volunteers and community leaders – met with the Prime Minister at Downing Street.

In a brief statement afterwards, a spokesman for the residents said: “We have had two-and-a-half hours with the Prime Minister Theresa May, and spoke about demands and what we expect. You will hear from us in due course.”

The PM has come in for heavy criticism over her response to Wednesday morning’s fire, and protests were held in Whitehall as Mrs May met the locals.

Protests have taken place in Whitehall as survivors met with the PM at Downing Street
Protests have taken place in Whitehall as survivors met with the PM at Downing Street

As part of the “comprehensive package” of support arranged for victims on Friday, Downing Street says:

:: Residents of Grenfell Tower will be rehoused at the earliest possible opportunity, within three weeks at the latest.

:: People will be rehoused as close as possible to their previous address, either in Kensington and Chelsea borough or a neighbouring borough, in order for them to access their same schools and GPs.

:: The cost of temporary accommodation will be covered until they are rehoused, with the Government also providing cash for any extra expense incurred by children travelling to their local school.

Police now say 58 people who were in Grenfell Tower on the night of the blaze are missing and presumed dead, including 30 confirmed fatalities. That number may rise.

A Downing Street spokesman said the PM had “sent her best wishes” to the Queen, who has marked her 91st birthday with a sombre but defiant message.

In a statement, the Queen praised Britons for staying “resolute in the face of adversity” after three terror attacks and the Kensington fire.

A minute’s silence was held before the Trooping the Colour celebrations outside Buckingham Palace.

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