U.K. Government Buys Apartments for Grenfell Tower Fire Victims

  • State bought the social-housing units from a Berkeley JV
  • The fire in the London tower block left at least 79 dead

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said the support available to the families who lost their homes and loved-ones in the Grenfell Tower fire was not good enough, that it was a failure of the state, and that she apologized for that failure. She spoke during the Parliamentary debate following the Queen's Speech in the House of Commons in London. (Excerpt. Source: PBU) (Source: Bloomberg)

The U.K. government bought 68 new apartments from Berkeley Group Holdings Plc to re-house people made homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

The social-housing units are part of the Kensington Row development currently being constructed and due for completion next month, the Department for Communities and Local Government said in a statement. Extra staff have been committed to the project by Berkeley’s St. Edward joint venture with Prudential Assurance Co., and working-hours restrictions have been relaxed.

“The residents of Grenfell Tower have been through some of the most harrowing and traumatic experiences imaginable and it is our duty to support them,” Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said in the statement. “Our priority is to get everyone who has lost their home permanently rehoused locally as soon as possible.”

At least 79 people were killed after fire broke out last week at the 24-story tower block in a part of west London where council flats sit next door to some of the world’s most expensive real estate. The Kensington Row development itself includes not only the purpose-built social housing, but also private apartments listed on Berkeley’s website from 1.6 million pounds ($2 million).

A spokesman for Berkeley declined to comment on the terms of the sale. No prices were disclosed in the government statement.

— With assistance by Sharon R Smyth

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