The Grenfell Tower inquiry has cost the taxpayer more than £40 million, with most of the money spent on lawyers and legal advisers fees, according to a financial statement released by the inquiry.
Covering the period from 1 August 2017 to 31 March 2019, the statement shows the inquiry has spent £24m on barristers, lawyers and solicitors, £4.6m on expert evidence and scientific investigations, £9m on back office costs and £2.6m on hiring the venue at Holborn Bars in London’s legal district.
The costs do not include money spent on legal fees by other public bodies and Government departments, including the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who owned Grenfell Tower and commissioned the £10 million refurbishment, which was completed in 2016.
The legal fees were spent on advisors to both the inquiry team and the survivors and families of the victims, as well as the firefighters. The inquiry’s chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, earnt between £210,000 and £220,000 for the 12 months to the end of March 2019.
It is a poignant reminder that the cause of the inquiry might have been the decision to save money on the refurbishment contract, by reducing the amount spent on the building’s cladding. This is understood to have saved about £260,000.
The inquiry was established by Theresa May in August 2017 to look into the events of the night of the fire and the circumstances of the refurbishment project that preceded it. The second phase of the inquiry is due to resume in late January and is likely to run for at least 18 months, with the legal fees eventually expected to exceed £100 million.
The inquiry has received and reviewed more than 500,000 documents of which more than 200,000 are expected to be disclosed to core participants.
By Patrick Mooney, Editor