Government will pay full costs of Manchester Arena terrorist attack

27 Nov 17

The government has announced that it will cover the full costs of dealing with the aftermath of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack, after criticism that its initial financial offer was “not good enough”.

Prime minister Theresa May told journalists in the City yesterday that “Manchester will get the financial support it needs” to meet the costs that resulted from the suicide bombing.

Twenty-two people were killed and over five hundred were injured six months ago when fans were targeted as they left an Ariana Grande pop concert in the centre of Manchester.

The pledge represents a swift u-turn by the prime minister, after the government’s initial offer to pay what it called “reasonable costs” towards the total bill.

That original offer, which amounted to just £12 million of the £17 million requested, provoked an outcry.

Manchester’s Labour mayor Andy Burnham, responding on Twitter, described the offer as “not good enough,” and warned that local services would have to be cut because of the shortfall.

The Manchester Evening News accused May of breaking a promise to the city and said she had been “too slow to act”.

Burnham also published a detailed breakdown of extra costs associated with the attack, which ran to more than £28m.

He claimed extra policing had cost nearly £10m, the same as the combined burden borne by the NHS, mental health support and the ambulance service.

The breakdown also identifies the funds needed to hold an inquiry into the tragedy and for potential inquests.

Theresa May has now confirmed in a statement that the government would bear all of the “unexpected and exceptional costs” after all, in a move welcomed by Burnham.

"The process of making those payments is ongoing and I understand the frustration felt at the pace of delivery,” the prime minister said.

“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.”

This taskforce will co-ordinate the work of four Whitehall departments to guarantee that financial support is released as and when it is needed.

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

Earlier this month the police confirmed that inquests into the deaths of those killed in the bombing had been postponed until next summer, to give Greater Manchester Police time to try and extradite a suspect connected with the killings, who has fled to Libya.

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