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Grenfell: Council spends £6.3m on hotel bills and expenses to support survivors of fire

The local council has already paid out more than £6.3m in hotel bills and other expenses since the Grenfell fire Credit: Rick Findler/PA

More than £6.3m in hotel bills and other expenses has been paid out by Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC) in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, it has emerged.

According to new figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests nearly two-thirds of the money spent by the council has been on emergency accommodation for the hundreds of survivors left homeless by the fire.

It comes as the majority of those left destitute by the blaze remain in hotels 10 weeks after the June 14 fire in which at least 80 people lost their lives, and as fears continue to grow among survivors that they will have to enter a bidding war for new homes.

£4.25m
spent by the council on emergency accommodation for hundreds of survivors since June 14
£1.46m
spent on grants for community projects including mental health, emotional support, and counselling
£0.5m
spent on covering survivors' basic needs, travel and work onsite at the tower
£0.1m
spent on staff to support those affected and other costs

The new data obtained by the Press Association showed a total of £4,259,172 was spent on rooms in 49 hotels between the night of the fire and August 21 - which represented the biggest amount of funds paid out by the council so far.

Additionally £98,730 went on payments to survivors to cover their basic needs, £15,034 on travel and £415,084 on site work at the gutted tower.

Meanwhile £1,463,619 went on grants for community projects including mental health and emotional support, counselling and therapy, £34,429 on staff to support those affected and £100,266 on other costs.

At least 80 people are known to have died in the blaze and hundreds were left homeless Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

After the amount that has been spent came to light Emma Dent Coad, MP for the area, said we "shouldn't be counting" the cost of what had gone to help survivors but questioned whether the sum could have instead been used to buy houses for survivors.

She said: "For £4 million, 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."

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said on Wednesday a total of £30 million had been earmarked from the council's reserves for the rehousing process and £76 million will be made available to buy homes from private social housing providers and the marketplace, and to help leaseholders secure new properties.

Charity donations distributed to survivors

The money paid out by the council so far has also been bolstered by separate charity contributions to help survivors.

The Charity Commission said on Friday that 42% of £18.8m raised for Grenfell survivors and victims’ families has already been distributed to those in need with an increased pace of distribution in recent weeks.

According to the commission the donated money has also been divided up into several forms by charities, with sums set aside specifically for the bereaved or those treated in hospital and a separate "fresh start" grant of £10,000 for all displaced families for example.