KENSINGTON and Chelsea council has spent more than £6.3 million on hotel bills and expenses for the survivors of the Grenfell Tower inferno, new figures revealed yesterday.
More than £4.2m has been paid for emergency accommodation for hundreds of displaced people since fire consumed the west London tower block in June, killing 80 people.
However, Labour MP Emma Dent Coad pointed out that the huge financial and human cost of the disaster dwarfed the “small” savings that were made when Grenfell was refurbished on the cheap.
She said the cash could have been spent on buying houses for survivors. With the amount spent since the tragedy being almost double the cost of Grenfell’s cladding, Ms Dent Coad urged the council to “rethink” its priorities.
The council has faced strong criticism for its response to the tragedy, which has left hundreds of people still living in temporary accommodation 10 weeks later.
At a heated public meeting earlier this week, council leader Elizabeth Campbell faced new calls to resign as residents accused her of having “blood on her hands.”
On Wednesday, leading councillors approved a £76m package to rehouse survivors, including £40m for homes from private social housing providers and £20m for new homes on the housing market.
Ms Campbell pledged to rehouse every single survivor and said that more than 100 homes had already been bought.
However, former Grenfell resident Ferhad Barakat said the offer was “insulting” and “seemed intent on cheating leaseholders of their home.
“It is impossible to find a property for the same amount you are offering in the area,” he said, while Tiago Alves called it a “slap in the face.”
Ms Dent Coad said: “The council for many years has been involved in ‘spend to save’ exercises, which have always gone wrong. This looks more like ‘save to spend.’
“The small amount that they saved on the cladding system — if indeed they did — has cost lives and so far nearly £7m, and it will cost a lot more.
“For £4m, we could have bought people homes off the market, surely.”