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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May says support for Grenfell Tower victims 'wasn't good enough' after meeting families

  • Video report by ITV News Journalist Angus Walker

Theresa May has admitted the support offered families caught up in the Grenfell Tower disaster "was not good enough" after she met victims at Downing Street.

The Prime Minister pledged to do more for survivors as police today announced 58 people were missing and presumed dead in the blaze.

She has faced anger and pressure over her response to the disaster after victims she failed to meet victims in the immediate aftermath of the blaze.

Distraught families also said they were left without a place to stay after their homes were burned, while families of the missing have criticised a lack of clear information from authorities.

Today Mrs May pledged "immediate action across the board to help victim's families and the survivors" in a statement.

The response of the emergency services, the NHS and the community has been heroic.

But frankly the support on the ground for families who needed help or basic information in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough.

I have heard the concerns and I have ordered immediate action across the board to help victims' families and the survivors.

– Theresa May
Theresa May leaves a west London hospital after visiting victims Credit: PA

The Prime Minister acknowledged there had been "huge frustrations" on the ground as people struggled to find information.

She offered pledges including more staff on the ground to help those affected, and said she had ordered authorities to find them homes "nearby" within three weeks.

It came shortly after she met a group of families caught up in the disaster at Downing Street who said they had made clear their "demands and what we expect" as they left following a two-and-a-half hour discussion.

A spokesman for the group added they would make a full statement "in the community".

A sign suggesting Conservative austerity contributed to the disaster. Credit: PA

Mrs May's most senior minister said she was "distraught" ahead of the private reception at her residence with some of those caught up in the fire.

Earlier on Saturday, she chaired a Government task force on the disaster.

On Thursday Mrs May met the emergency services at the scene of the blaze, while on Friday she visited victims in hospital and met survivors, residents, volunteers and community leaders in Kensington.

Some 19 people remain in four London hospitals, 10 of who are in critical conditions.

Police struggle to hold back the crowd which surrounded Theresa May's car during her visit to Kensington. Credit: PA

However, there was unhappiness that the Prime Minister's visit to victims came more than 48 hours after the disaster.

Defending the way Mrs May had handled the tragedy, First Secretary of State, Damian Green said suggestions the Prime Minister does not seem to have what it takes to respond to such a disaster were "terribly unfair".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "She's distraught by what happened as we all are."

Mr Green said the Government expected to appoint a chairman to lead the public inquiry "in days rather than weeks" and said the probe will look at whether sprinklers should be retrofitted to tower blocks.

He added the Government will "follow the recommendations of the public inquiry".

Fire teams at the charred block in West London. Credit: PA

Mrs May faced fresh criticism on Saturday night as some said her actions were too little and too late.

Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, said she had failed to react to what amounted to a "national disaster".

"Theresa May is acting like a hopeless bystander rather than Prime Minister," he said.

"We are several days on, and her belated act of contrition is not enough."

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