€31.6m in UK budget to help with Grenfell fire aftermath

A further €31.6 million has been freed up in the UK budget up to help with the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, it has been announced.

Philip Hammond, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, unveiled additional funding to help pay for mental health and counselling services, regeneration in the London neighbourhood and a new community space.

Philip Hammond making the budget announcement today

The fire at the 24-storey block in June left 71 dead, hundreds homeless and many more requiring support for trauma.

Kensington and Chelsea Council will receive the money from central Government, Mr Hammond said.

He also made a renewed call for local authorities to accelerate efforts to ensure all high-rise towers are safe.

"This tragedy should never have happened," he told the British Parliament.

"And we must ensure that nothing like it never happens again."

Mr Hammond described the fire as a "terrible tragedy" during his set-piece Budget statement.

A nationwide safety operation launched in the UK in the wake of the disaster uncovered flaws in hundreds of towers.

This included the widespread use of flammable cladding on building exteriors, which is thought to have aided the spread of the Grenfell Tower inferno.

But many councils have demanded additional funding from central Government to help foot the bill of renovation work.

Mr Hammond said: "All local authorities and housing associations must carry out any identified, necessary safety works as soon as possible.

"And if any local authority cannot access funding to pay for essential fire safety work, they should contact us immediately.

"I have said before, and I will say again today, we will not allow financial constraints to get in the way of any essential fire safety work."

His announcement comes as the final two victims of the fire, mother and daughter Victoria King and Alexandra Atala, were due to have their inquests opened at Westminster Coroner’s Court.

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