18 Days Remaining

Saturday 17th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

ONE of the firms which carried out refurbishment work on Grenfell Tower has dodged millions of pounds in tax, it was revealed yesterday.

Companies House documents show that Harley Wall Ltd, which undertook some of the cladding work on the outside of the tower block in May last year, stashed away nearly £2.5 million in tax avoidance schemes before going bust in August.

This included £981,000 being put into an “employment benefit trust,” and £1.5m into a “business benefit trust.”

Concerns have been widely raised about the fire risk posed by the cladding used by Harley Facades Limited — which owned Harley Wall Ltd — and contractor Rydon, when they refurbished Grenfell.

This includes a parliamentary report from 2000, released after a deadly fire in a tower block in south London, which said that cladding should be fireproof.

Harley Facades managing director Ray Bailey said: “At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.”

The Daily Mirror reported that the firm still owed £764,000 after completing the £3m refurb.

Mr Bailey lives in a £900,000 home in Crowborough, East Sussex, the paper reported.

The company also refurbished the Chalcot Estate in Swiss Cottage, north-west London, in a similar way to Grenfell Tower, according to news site Construction Enquirer.

A statement from Rydon said: “We welcome the announcement of the public inquiry into the tragic incident at Grenfell Tower.”

According to reports by Construction News magazine, Leadbitter was initially preferred contractor for the works at Grenfell, but Rydon offered a cheaper deal to Kensington and Chelsea Council.