Grenfell Tower families to receive '£5,500 each' despite losing homes and lives

Grenfell Tower families to receive '£5,500 each' despite losing homes and lives
3 min read
19 June, 2017
Despite losing their homes, belongings, and in most cases, relatives, the British government confirmed it will give £5,500 to each family affect by the Grenfell Tower inferno.
Hundreds of families lived in the residential block [Getty]

Families affected by the devastating London tower block inferno last week will receive £5,500 from the British government, Downing Street announced on Sunday.

Residents will be given £500 in cash to help with immediate needs and are expected to receive the remaining funds via bank payments from Monday, reports said.

On Friday, the PM announced a £5 million emergency fund to assist the residents of the now-charred Grenfell Tower, shortly after meeting survivors for the first time in Downing Street.

But community members, who have led initiatives to support those affected without help from the government in the days after the fire, slammed the move, suggesting “it is not enough”.

“We’ve raised more than that as a community,” one protester told the BBC during a protest outside the local Kensington hall.

“We’ve done everything on our own, £5 million is nothing, it is not enough,” she maintained.

Others have compared the “measly” amount to the PM’s spending of £143 million on her “failed narcissistic” election campaign, referring to Britain’s shocking poll results on June 8, while some even noted Buckingham Palace’s upcoming £360 million refurbishment project.

Meanwhile, almost one week after the tragedy, London Metropolitan police said hopes to identify some of the bodies were dwindling, confirming that some “would never be identified”.

However, the police commander said he “must consider the fact that there may be others in the building who, for whatever reason have not been reported to us. There is also a real possibility that there may be people in the building that no one knows are missing.”

"Sadly that work leads me to believe that the number of people missing, but as yet unaccounted for has risen from yesterday's figure of 58," Commander Stuart Cundy said, adding that the higher toll would be released on Monday.

Reports suggest up to 600 residents lived in west London’s Grenfell Tower, although the council has failed to publicly reveal the number in the wake of the deadly inferno.

The speed with which the fire tore through the housing block has raised questions about the cladding that had recently been fitted to the outside of the building. It has been alleged that the cladding, which was fitted for cosmetic purposes, provided fuel for the fire to shoot up the side of the block.

The lack of fire alarms and sprinklers in the building has heightened discontent against the Conservative government's programme of austerity, which has seen huge cuts to public spending, including in housing.

In particular, much focus has centred on Prime Minister May's new chief of staff Gavin Barwell over his role in delaying a government fire safety review when he served as housing minister.