Latest Public Sector News

13.06.18

Councils spend £100m on fire safety post-Grenfell – but many denied any government help

London councils have spent almost £100m on safety measures since the Grenfell Tower tragedy last year, new figures have revealed.

The spending was declared by 24 boroughs in response to Freedom of Information requests by the BBC, and has covered the cost of cladding removal, safety surveys, and ‘waking watches’ on buildings considered to be at risk of fire.

However, this work has meant that some councils have had to delay refurbishing their flats in order to pay for it.

Croydon Council has installed sprinklers in around 400 homes so far as part of a £10m programme in twenty-five 10-12 storey blocks, as well as an eight-storey sheltered block. But it expressed concerns that a lack of government funding has caused it to cut refurbishment work.

The BBC found that some local authorities have had funding requests rejected, with Enfield and Brent councils reporting that they have had applications for government funding to install sprinklers turned down.

Newham council, which has so far spent £20m since the tragedy, also revealed that it has not yet received any money from the government.

Camden Borough Council has spent £33m, while Kensington and Chelsea council reported an expenditure of £4.6m in addition to the £235m that it has spent in responding to the Grenfell disaster so far, which has reportedly exhausted its reserves.

According to Croydon council, it has requested a financial contribution from the government three times in order to limit the impact on council budgets, but ministers have not yet pledged any cash.

Cllr Alison Butler, deputy leader of Croydon Council and cabinet member for homes and gateway services, said: “In a week where we are all remembering the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a lesson learnt must be that fire safety continues to be a top priority for everyone.

“That’s why Croydon Council decided to retrofit sprinklers in around 1,250 homes across the borough, and we are on schedule to complete this in a few months’ time.

“This £10m programme is very important, but it will hit our long-term finances unless we receive government help. I urge ministers to relax tight restrictions on councils’ housing budgets like the borrowing cap – this would boost not just Croydon but other councils with bigger fire safety bills.”

Last month, Theresa May pledged to fully fund the removal of cladding from tower blocks.

Top image: Victoria Jones PA Wire

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

13/06/2019A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

A fifth of the country’s public sector workers say they have NEVER re... more >
Time to build a truly northern powerhouse

11/06/2019Time to build a truly northern powerhouse

Jack Hunter, a research fellow at think tank IPPR North, discusses how to u... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

New rules to change the future of Social Value

05/06/2019New rules to change the future of Social Value

The government has announced the introduction of new rules to change the future of social value and make the way housing developers stump up the money for infrastructure both ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >