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Councils were yesterday given a blank cheque for essential fire safety work in high-rise blocks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Those struggling to stump up the money to make flats safe can ask central Government for help, the Chancellor announced.

Mr Hammond also unveiled an extra £28million of support for the survivors of the fire, which tore through flats after they were fitted with cheap cladding.

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

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

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

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

During his Budget statement, Mr Hammond told the Commons: ‘This tragedy should never have happened.

‘And we must ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.’

The money will be used to help pay for mental health and counselling services, as well as regeneration in the west London neighbourhood and a new community space.

Mr Hammond also called for local authorities to speed up efforts to ensure all high-rise towers are safe.

A nationwide safety operation launched in the wake of the disaster uncovered flaws in hundreds of high-rise blocks across the country.

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

Mr Hammond also unveiled an extra £28million of support for the survivors of the fire, which tore through flats after they were fitted with cheap cladding

Mr Hammond also unveiled an extra £28million of support for the survivors of the fire, which tore through flats after they were fitted with cheap cladding

Mr Hammond also unveiled an extra £28million of support for the survivors of the fire, which tore through flats after they were fitted with cheap cladding

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

In his Budget speech, Mr Hammond said any local authority which does not have the funds to pay for fire safety work should contact central Government.

He added: ‘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… 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.’

Elizabeth Campbell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, welcomed the cash injection.

The west London authority was besieged by criticism in the aftermath of the disaster, prompting then leader Nicholas Paget-Brown to step down.

During his Budget statement, Mr Hammond told the Commons: ‘This tragedy should never have happened. And we must ensure that nothing like it ever happens again’

During his Budget statement, Mr Hammond told the Commons: ‘This tragedy should never have happened. And we must ensure that nothing like it ever happens again’

During his Budget statement, Mr Hammond told the Commons: ‘This tragedy should never have happened. And we must ensure that nothing like it ever happens again’

It was accused of not doing enough to help prevent the fire and of responding too slowly during the fallout. She said: ‘Securing money in the budget for Grenfell is a good step, but now I am focused on getting the investment into the key areas where it is needed.

‘We had emergency reserves and we have spent them on what was a national emergency.

‘This extra funding allows us to look beyond the ongoing rehousing effort, which we have spent over £200 million on, and help to secure a long term future for the people of North Kensington.’

The council confirmed the extra money would be used to refurbish the Lancaster West estate, where Grenfell Tower is based, in consultation with residents.

Speaking in the Commons, Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Hammond had failed to fund the ‘£1billion investment needed’ for sprinklers in all high-rise buildings.

The Labour leader said some councils had asked for, but were refused, financial help, while Parliament is about to be fitted with sprinklers of its own.





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