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Renovators at UK blaze tower were asked to cut costs: report

2 min

London (AFP)

Contractors working on the renovation of London's Grenfell Tower were asked by the building's managers to reduce costs, with cheaper exterior cladding suggested as one alternative, The Times reported Friday.

At least 80 people were killed in the blaze that consumed the tower this month, with the cladding blamed for spreading the fire throughout the 24-floor block.

An "urgent nudge email" sent to contractor Artelia UK from the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO), which runs the tower block on behalf of the local council, said that "we need good costs" for council leader Rock Feilding-Mellen.

One suggestion was the use of aluminium panels instead of zinc, which is more fire-resistant, leading to a "saving of £293,368".

Retired judge Martin Moore-Bick was on Thursday appointed to lead a public inquiry into the fire, which engulfed Grenfell Tower on June 14.

Residents have expressed anger at the authorities' handling of the fire, leading protesters on June 16 to storm the town hall which manages the social housing block, though there is no suggestion that fire safety concerns were ignored.

Victims identified so far include a six-month-old baby, her eight-year-old sister and their parents, who lived on the 20th floor.

The baby was found in her dead mother's arms.

As part of an emergency fund, the government announced this month that each household whose home was destroyed would receive at least £5,500 ($7,140, 6,250 euros).

Checks are underway at hundreds of high-rises in Britain fitted with the same cladding which encased Grenfell Tower.

So far all 137 buildings tested have failed the fire safety checks.

The Kensington and Chelsea Council on Thursday failed in a bid to bar journalists from the first meeting of councillors since the disaster, and instead adjourned the meeting early.

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