London fire: Theresa May admits support for Grenfell Tower victims ‘not good enough’ and pledges action as 58 presumed dead

Theresa May has admitted the support for families in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy was “not good enough” as police say 58 people are now presumed dead.

On Saturday the Prime Minister responded to the anger among residents who are demanding more information from the Government and local authorities.

After 24 hours of rallies in support of the Grenfell victims, Mrs May met with residents and community leaders on Saturday before setting out her plans to help.

The PM hailed the work of the emergency services but added: “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.”


The PM has said the support for families was ‘not good enough’ in the hours after the disaster. (Getty Images)

She has now ordered daily updates on the progress of rehousing victims and has deployed more staff across north Kensington and on phone lines to support victims.

She reiterated her promise of a public inquiry which will “report back to me personally” and pledged victims’ legal costs would be paid by the Government. 

The Government’s £5 million emergency fund is already being spent on clothing and food to help the dispossessed and NHS London will provide counselling and bereavement support to families.


Recovery: Members of the emergency services in the middle floors. (AFP/Getty Images)

It comes as police announced they now know at least 58 people were inside Grenfell Tower when the fire started in the early hours of Wednesday and are now missing. 

Of the 58, 30 people are confirmed dead. Officials have so far recovered 16 bodies.

The first victim has been confirmed as 23-year-old Mohammed Alhajali, a Syrian refugee who lived in the tower in north Kensington.

Grenfell fire: Police say 58 missing and presumed dead

Police said 19 people are still in hospital, including 10 who are in a critical condition. Everyone who was taken to hospital has now been identified.

In a statement on Saturday, Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy said: “Whilst I sincerely hope that our work over the coming days means that we able to say that less people are confirmed as having died, I also have to consider the sad reality that this may rise.


A protester holds a sign in support of Grenfell Tower victims outside Downing Street on Saturday. (AFP/Getty Images)

“I would like to ask anyone who was in Grenfell Tower that night, but for whatever reason has not told us they are safe to please call our Casualty Bureau. It does not matter why you have not told us, what is important is that we know you are safe.

“I completely understand the growing sense of frustration within the local community and especially those people for whom Grenfell Tower was home.The loss of life as a result of this tragedy is truly harrowing, and we remain committed to providing the certainty and answers as soon as we possibly can.”


PM Theresa May visiting the site for the first time. (Getty Images)

Among concerns previously been raised by people in the wake of the fire was the lack of a centralised missing person list and worries over where Grenfell residents will be rehoused.

It was coupled with criticism of the PM’s handling of the disaster after she made a private visit to the base of the tower but failed to meet with residents.

Mrs May has since visited survivors in the Royal Kensington and Chelsea Hospital as well as meeting residents at a church in Kensington on Friday, where crowds pelted her with cries of “shame on you” as she left.

Evacuation from Notting Hill Grenfell Tower Fire – In pictures

On Saturday, she invited a group of residents and community leaders to Number 10 Downing Street for a two and a half hour meeting to listen to their concerns.

She also chaired a meeting of a specialist Government task force to deal with the Grenfell tragedy.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who was at the meeting, said he used it as a “crucial opportunity for me to make clear to the Government” what the residents need.

Work is now continuing to recover bodies from inside the building, which has now been completely searched. Police said the recovery work will carry on for many week.s

Commander Mr Cundy said: “Sadly, our work will be ongoing for many, many weeks. We know that there are still bodies of those who died inside the building and we want to return those people to their families as soon as we possibly can.”

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