Addressing the House of Commons, the prime minister said that people were left confused and scared in the wake of the devastating fire, which left at least 79 dead and many more homeless.
She said the initial support on the ground for families affected by the fire was ‘not good enough’, calling it a failure to help people ‘when they needed it the most’.
‘As prime minister, I apologise for that failure,’ she said.
The prime minister was addressing the Commons after the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, which had set out the government’s legislative plans.
‘One lady I had met ran from the fire wearing no more than a t-shirt and a pair of knickers,’ May said. ‘She had lost absolutely everything.
‘So let me be absolutely clear. The support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough.
‘People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, about what they should do and where they could seek help.
‘That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it the most.
May said that each family whose home was destroyed is receiving a payment to enable them to buy food, clothes and other essentials.
She reiterated there will be an independent public inquiry, also noting all those who have lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks.