Messages of condolence for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire are pictured on a fence near to the burned-out shell of Grenfell Tower block in west London on June 13, 2018. Commemorations begin on June 13, 2018, to honour the 71 people who died when a fire ripped through the Grenfell tower block in London one year ago. / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
Messages of condolence for the 72 victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, near to the shell of the London tower block. Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP

British government to take over responsibility for Grenfell site



The British government has stepped in amid a growing row, to confirm it will take over responsibility for the site of Grenfell Tower, the high-rise London tower block where a fire in June 2017 caused the deaths of 72 people.

Earlier this week The Guardian revealed that – to the horror of survivors and families of the dead – the Metropolitan Police were planning on releasing the area around the tower, which had been a crime scene, back to the control of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council.

Many residents blame the council for poor management of the block before the disaster and for the chaotic arrangements that ensued after the fire, and said they were horrified to learn that RBKC would continue to have a role.

The work of the police is coming to an end at the site, and so it will cease to be a crime scene soon – perhaps even within days.

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The newspaper reported earlier this week that locals had assumed that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) would create an independent organisation to plan for Grenfell’s future.

It is believed by many that the tower – covered in scaffolding and shrouded in white material – will be demolished and the site will become a memorial to the victims of the fire, the worst in a public housing block since the Second World War.

Natasha Elcock, a survivor from Grenfell Tower and member of Grenfell United told The Guardian that: "It's a significant moment for survivors and bereaved families to hear that police investigations at the tower are about to be complete.

“We are relieved that the government has listened to us and stepped in to make sure that RBKC will not be managing the site and will have no involvement in any decisions about the site.

“It’s hard to put into words how personal what happens to the site is to all of us who used to live in the tower, lost loved ones in the fire and also for the wider community.

“The people we lost that night will be forever in our hearts and it will be survivors, bereaved families and the community that will make decisions together about what happens to the site now and how we remember there the loved ones we lost.”

MHCLG confirmed in a statement that “the government has recommitted today to putting the Grenfell Tower bereaved, survivors and community at the heart of deciding what happens to the future of the site.

“As part of this, the government has announced it will take responsibility for the Grenfell Tower site. It will make operational decisions, such as on the site’s safety, security and access, until the future of the site has been determined by the community. A formal agreement will be finalised in the autumn.

“The Metropolitan Police have said they are preparing to release the site as a crime scene. Ahead of this, the government is announcing the next step on the journey to a fitting memorial.”

Before a new body is created, the tower will be run by an independent team that has been working on the ground since the disaster. “This ensures the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will continue to take no role in making decisions regarding the site,” the MHCLG statement said.

“The land will be transferred to a body represented by the bereaved and survivors once an appropriate body has been established and the site has been made ready and available for future use.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

It's Monty Python's Crashing Rocket Circus

To the theme tune of the famous zany British comedy TV show, SpaceX has shown exactly what can go wrong when you try to land a rocket.

The two minute video posted on YouTube is a compilation of crashes and explosion as the company, created by billionaire Elon Musk, refined the technique of reusable space flight.

SpaceX is able to land its rockets on land once they have completed the first stage of their mission, and is able to resuse them multiple times - a first for space flight.

But as the video, How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster, demonstrates, it was a case if you fail, try and try again.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Clinicy
Started: 2017
Founders: Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah bin Sulaiman Alobaid and Saud bin Sulaiman Alobaid
Based: Riyadh
Number of staff: 25
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding raised: More than $10 million
Investors: Middle East Venture Partners, Gate Capital, Kafou Group and Fadeed Investment

THE BIO

Ms Al Ameri likes the variety of her job, and the daily environmental challenges she is presented with.

Regular contact with wildlife is the most appealing part of her role at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

She loves to explore new destinations and lives by her motto of being a voice in the world, and not an echo.

She is the youngest of three children, and has a brother and sister.

Her favourite book, Moby Dick by Herman Melville helped inspire her towards a career exploring  the natural world.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Elmawkaa
Based: Hub71, Abu Dhabi
Founders: Ebrahem Anwar, Mahmoud Habib and Mohamed Thabet
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $400,000
Investors: 500 Startups, Flat6Labs and angel investors
Number of employees: 12

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999


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