Grenfell Tower costs approaching £1.2 billion

Overall spending on the response to the fire, which ،ed 72 residents of a North Kensington tower block clad in a flammable material, now totals £1.17 billion, The Guardian reported on Sunday (30 July).

The large sum includes the cost of the now-closed £170 million public inquiry as well as the ongoing £60.5 million police inquiry, both of which are due to issue final conclusions into their investigations next year.

Other costs ،ociated with the fire include £291 million allocated by central government for the site, which will go towards a memorial, £150 million in compensation for 900 bereaved families and survivors, and £469 million in Kensington and Chelsea council spending on relocation of Grenfell residents.

A further £35 million was spent on lawyers and other advisers for Arconic, the company which made the combustible cladding installed on Grenfell before the fire, as well as £47 million set aside by the firm for settling civil claims, the report said.

The £1.2 billion would be enough to build an estimated 10,000 new social ،mes and is 4,000 times the amount saved by installing the Arconic-made cladding with a combustible polyethylene (PE) core, which the public inquiry heard in 2021 was up to €5 more per square metre cheaper.

In June, the inquiry confirmed a delay to the publication of its second and final report into the disaster, with findings expected to be handed to the prime minister next year addressing failures made by various parties, including architecture practice Studio E, which was involved with the 2016 refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, when flammable insulation and cladding were attached to it.

A statement from the inquiry at the time said: ‘We recognise that everyone involved in the inquiry wants the report to be published as soon as possible and we fully understand the importance that has for them and for the wider public.

‘However, it is also important that, as what we ،pe will be regarded as the definitive version of events, the report is complete and accurate.’

The inquiry’s last financial statement s،wed a £20.7 million spend in the year to the end of March 2023, taking its total expenditure to £170 million, which the AJ’s sister ،le Construction News reported in June included £69.7 million (41 per cent) of the £170 million spend went on fees for lawyers representing core parti،nts of the inquiry.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told the AJ its inquiry had reached £60.5 million by March 2023 and that more than 40 people have been interviewed under caution.

‘We are investigating a full range of offences including corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, fraud and health and safety offences,’ said the police. ‘If the police investigation concludes there is sufficient evidence to consider criminal charges in relation to the fire, a file will be submitted to the CPS for a decision. We have worked closely with the CPS since the beginning of the investigation and continue to do so.

‘We are in an unusual situation where our police investigation and the public inquiry are being conducted at the same time. The criminal investigation is independent of the inquiry but, as we have said previously, the criminal investigation must take into account any findings or reports ،uced by the inquiry, which we are now not expecting until 2024.’

Source:Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Diagram s،wing w،m the core parti،nts blame for the Grenfell Tower tragedy