UK

Theresa May Vows To Cover Costs Of Dealing With Manchester Bombing

The initial offer was slammed for falling at least £5 million short of what was needed.

27/11/2017 07:38 GMT | Updated 27/11/2017 07:42 GMT

Theresa May has done a U-turn on funding the costs of dealing with the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, following intense criticism.

The prime minister promised the Government would fully cover the cost after its initial offer fell at least £5 million short of what local authorities said was needed.

The Government had previously said Manchester had been assured it will receive £12 million, with £3 million being made available immediately, the Press Association reported

But Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said more than £17.5 million had already been spent and suggested at least £10.4 million more could be needed to cover costs including the inquests into the 22 deaths and an inquiry.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Tributes left for the victims of the Mancheste Arena bombing

The £12 million figure would have meant local authorities being forced to cut services to make up the £5 million shortfall on what had already been spend, he had warned.

The Prime Minister told the Manchester Evening News: “Be in no doubt, Manchester will get the financial support it needs – and if that costs £28m, as Andy Burnham has estimated, then that is what we will make available.”

In a statement the Prime Minister said a taskforce had been established within the Cabinet Office to oversee progress on meeting the costs.

She said: “The terror attack in Manchester was one of the darkest moments in the city’s history.

“Twenty two people were killed in a brutal act of hatred deliberately aimed at innocent children on what should have been one of the best nights of their young lives.

“In the hours, days and weeks that followed the Arena bombing, the spirit of Manchester shone out in defiance of an attack designed to destroy lives and devastate a community.”

PA Wire/PA Images

She added: “I promised in the wake of that appalling atrocity this Government would do all it could to help victims recover and the city to heal.

“I repeat that commitment today.

“Where your public services have had to bear, or will bear, unexpected and exceptional costs in coping with this terrible attack, these will be met by the Government.

“The process of making those payments is on-going and I understand the frustration felt at the pace of delivery. So I have taken steps to speed up our response.

“Over the weekend a taskforce has been established within the Cabinet Office to oversee progress and expedite payments when necessary. It will co-ordinate the cross Government response, pulling together the work of the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice.

“Not all the funding will be needed immediately. For example the inquests, opened and adjourned this month, will not begin until next June.

“Be in no doubt, however, Manchester will get the financial support it needs, and if that costs £28 million, as Andy Burnham has estimated, then that is what we will make available.”

Burnham said on Twitter: “I thank the Prime Minister for her helpful words this evening.

“We will work constructively with the taskforce to achieve a fair resolution.”