Hotel bills and expenses resulting from the Grenfell Tower fire have so far cost Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council more than £6.3 million, new figures reveal.
The council has paid out more than £4.2m on emergency accommodation for hundreds of survivors since June 14, data shows.
The majority of those left destitute by the deadly blaze remain in hotels 10 weeks later.
Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad said a huge human and financial toll was being paid for the “small” savings made by the local authority during a recent refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.
She also claimed the sum could have instead been used to buy houses for survivors.
Figures acquired by Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act shows the council spent £4,259,172 on rooms in 49 hotels between the night of the fire and August 21.
Other costs include £98,730 on payments to survivors to cover their basic needs, £15,034 on travel and £415,084 on site work at the gutted tower.
The council said the government had helped it to meet the financial demands of responding to the crisis.
At least 80 people died when the council-owned building was destroyed by fire, with its spread thought to have been aided by recently-installed cladding.
It is understood around £3.5m was spent on the Grenfell Tower cladding system, a figure which had allegedly been limited on cost grounds.
A cheaper material with a combustible core was elected over a fireproof version to make a saving of around £300,000, according to previous reports.
Ms Dent Coad urged a “rethink” in council priorities. She told the Press Association: “First off we have to say that the survivors and evacuees have had such a terrible time we shouldn’t be counting the cost of that – that must be the first thing.
“But secondly, the council for many years has been involved in ‘spend to save’ exercises, which has 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.
“I think we need to rethink our priorities and put people first always.
“For £4m, we could have bought people homes off the market, surely.
“It is, as usual, the council being reactive rather than proactive and wasting our money in the process.”
In a breakdown of costs since the tragedy, the council said it had used 35 individual apartments from five serviced apartment providers alongside the hotel rooms to house those displaced.
It also spent:
- £1,463,619 on grants for community projects including mental health and emotional support, counselling and therapy, outreach work and activities and support for young people
- £34,429 on staff to support those affected
- £100,266 on other costs
This totalled £6,386,335 spent in the wake of the fire.
More than 180 families remain in hotels or temporary accommodation, the latter of which is costing the council £1,000 per household per week, council leader Elizabeth Campbell said.
Nine families have now accepted offers of permanent housing.
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