Homeless victims of Grenfell Tower fire will be given £5,500 from tomorrow

Grenfell Tower - Picture: PA Wire
Grenfell Tower - Picture: PA Wire
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Victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster who have been left homeless will be given at least £5,500 from an emergency fund, Theresa May has announced.

Residents will be given £500 in cash followed by a bank payment for the rest from Monday.

The Prime Minister insisted the Government was doing everything possible to help those caught up in the tragedy.

The money will come from the £5 million fund announced by Mrs May on Friday.

No 10 said the £500 cash payment is already being handed out and further payments will be available from the Westway Centre and the nearby post office in Portobello Road.

Help will be given to residents who do not have bank accounts.

Mrs May said: "As we continue to respond to the needs of the community, our focus is on ensuring that all of those affected by this unimaginable tragedy get the right support as quickly as possible.

"My government will continue to do absolutely everything possible to help all of those affected through the difficult days, weeks, months and years ahead."

The move came as the official response to the crisis drew fresh condemnation from residents and London Mayor Sadiq Khan

In a statement to the Press Association, residents who met Mrs May in Downing Street over the weekend criticised Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation for its reaction to the disaster.

The group said: "In our meeting at Downing Street, we explained to the Prime Minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy.

"With the exception of very few junior officers, the estate managers have been invisible in the aftermath of the tragedy."

Mr Khan said the local community was "frustrated" and "angry" in the wake of the blaze, which left at least 58 people feared dead, after he attended a church service near the tower block in west London.

His remarks came as Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, insisted officials were on the ground "very soon" after the fire broke out following criticism from Mrs May, who said the support given to residents was "not good enough".

He also sidestepped questions over whether he felt guilty about the tragedy, telling BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "I feel terrible about the whole position we find ourselves in. All I'm keen to say is there is an effective, co-ordinated relief effort on the ground and I'm sorry if people haven't seen that."

Speaking outside St Clement's Church, Mr Khan said: "There is a feeling from the community that they have been treated badly because some of them are poor.

"The tragedy we're seeing is because of the consequences of mistakes and neglect from politicians, from the council and from the Government."

Meanwhile, a company involved in the renovation of the tower was forced to deny cladding on the building was banned in the UK after comments made by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

It was reported that the material used in the cladding covering Grenfell was Reynobond PE - a cheaper, more flammable version of two available options.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hammond said: "My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here."

John Cowley, managing director of CEP Architectural Facades, which produced rainscreen panels and windows for Grenfell Tower's cladding sub-contractor Harley Facades Ltd, said: "Reynobond PE is not banned in the UK.

"Current building regulations allow its use in both low-rise and high-rise structures.

"The key question now is whether the overall design of the building's complete exterior was properly tested and subsequently signed off by the relevant authorities including the fire officer, building compliance officer and architect before commencement of the project."