The writer of a drama about the Grenfell inquiry – and the £800,000 cost-cutting that made the refurbishment lethal – explains how this story is a microcosm for what’s rotten in Britain today

Although Richard Norton-Taylor’s ninth play makes its debut later this month, the former Guardian security editor doesn’t consider himself a playwright. “I would say I’m a journalist, really,” Norton-Taylor says. “Playwright is overdoing it. I’m basically editing.”

Grenfell: Value Engineering is taken entirely from evidence given in the second phase of the Grenfell inquiry, which interrogated the contractors and council representatives responsible for the renovation of the building in 2015-16. It takes its title from the £800,000 of savings – euphemistically dubbed “value engineering” – that the building giant Rydon was asked to find in its £9.2m bid by Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO), in order to win the contract to refurbish the tower.

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