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Grenfell Tower fire was a 'preventable' tragedy, says London mayor

Credit: PA

The deadly fire at Grenfell Tower was a "preventable accident" caused by years of "mistakes and neglect" from officials, the mayor of London has said.

Sadiq Khan acknowledged the anger of households in the tower who said they were left without practical help or information over missing loved ones in the wake of the blaze.

He has suggested that high-rise blocks dating from the 1960s and 1970s could be torn down as a result of the disaster, which left at least 58 people feared dead.

Meanwhile, residents have been promised cash payments of at least £5,500 within days from a Government fund after Theresa May admitted the initial official response to the fire was not good enough.

Today, Mr Khan acknowledged that the local community was "frustrated" and "angry" as they struggled to deal with the aftermath of the fire.

There is a feeling from the community that they have been treated badly because some of them are poor.

The tragedy we're seeing is because of the consequences of mistakes and neglect from politicians, from the council and from the Government."

– Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan speaks to a woman outside a church near Grenfell Tower in west London. Credit: PA

Writing in the Observer, Mr Khan said said that many tower blocks dating from the 1960s and 1970s were not built to modern standards and suggested they may be "systematically torn down" following the fire.

He wrote that images of the disaster "should be forever seared into our nation's collective memory".

The London mayor also said the response from Kensington and Chelsea Council was "simply not been good enough".

"Residents feel abandoned by those with the power - the council and government," he added.

Mr Khan went on: "Those who mock health and safety, regulations and red tape need to take a hard look at the consequences of cutting these and ask themselves whether Grenfell Tower is a price worth paying."

Local residents have expressed their anger at the tragedy and desire for 'justice'. Credit: PA

Accusations have been levelled that safety concerns previously raised by residents of Grenfell Tower were inadequately addressed.

There have also been questions raised over whether cladding fitted on tower block in 2016 may have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.

Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, has rejected much of the criticism.

He insisted officials were on the ground "very soon" after the fire broke out.

The tower block's cladding may have been a factor in the spread of the fire. Credit: PA

Mr Paget-Brown also sidestepped questions over whether he felt guilty about the tragedy.

"I feel terrible about the whole position we find ourselves in," he told the BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

"All I'm keen to say is there is an effective, co-ordinated relief effort on the ground and I'm sorry if people haven't seen that."

Many tributes and flowers have been left near the scene of the deadly blaze. Credit: PA

Prime Minister Theresa May has also been criticised for her response to the disaster after she failed to meet victims in the immediate aftermath of the blaze.

Mrs May admitted the support offered to those affect "was not good enough" after she met victims at Downing Street on Saturday.

Victims, volunteers and community leaders met Theresa May at Downing Street. Credit: PA

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