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Hammond: 'Financial constraints will not get in way of fire safety works'

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The chancellor has urged councils to contact the government “immediately” if they are struggling to fund fire safety improvement works – despite more than 30 councils having already done just that.

In his Budget speech, Philip Hammond said the government “will not let financial constraints get in the way of essential” fire safety improvement works.

LGC reported last month how Salford City Council accused the Department for Communities & Local Government of “failing to live up to its responsibility” as it has not yet provided financial assistance to any council carrying out improvement works on buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Mr Hammond said: “This tragedy should never have happened, and we must ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.

“All local authorities and housing associations must carry out any identified necessary safety works as soon as possible.

“If any local authority cannot access funding to pay for essential fire safety work, they should contact us immediately.

“As I have said before, we will not let financial constraints get in the way of essential safety work.”

LGC reported in August how some councils are struggling to pay for fire safety improvements to tower blocks. Even those who can cover the costs have warned the required work will divert cash away from much needed housing projects.

Meanwhile, Mr Hammond announced the government is providing Kensington & Chelsea RBC with £28m for “mental health services, regeneration support for the surrounding areas and to provide a new community space for Grenfell United community group”.

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