The money took the headlines. As usual, you might say. On Tuesday barristers acting for some of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire outlined the details of the settlement of a civil damages claim worth £150 million.

It was only in the fourth paragraph of the BBC’s report on the story that it was revealed that the long-running inquiry into the fire, which killed 72 people in June 2017, will not now publish its report until 2024. Next month will see the sixth anniversary of the tragedy. Will the report be seen before the seventh?

Even then, the report will only offer recommendations. And evidence revealed in the inquiry cannot be used in prosecutions. Any criminal charges can only come from the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Northleigh investigation which has run parallel with the inquiry. It has conducted interviews under caution for gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, fraud and health and safety offences.

But the police have said they will not submit files to the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] until after the inquiry makes its report. The CPS will then have to decide whether to proceed, after which it could be years before any court case would begin.

Justice moves much more slowly than money. And the bar for successful prosecutions in such cases is high.

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And yet we know that companies who provided cladding for the tower rigged tests, concealed results and sold products they knew were dangerous.

We know that building regulators didn’t regulate because it wasn’t “necessarily in the best interest of UK plc” (according to the civil servant in charge of building regulations at the time). We know, in fact, that the Westminster Government in the years before Grenfell was trying to reduce those regulations.

And we know the local council did not listen to the concerns of the people who lived in Grenfell Tower.

Read more: The BBC is making a classic error of judgment

“Grenfell was the result of a series of choices, state neglect and corporate wrongdoing,” the journalist Peter Apps writes in his harrowing book Show Me The Bodies.

But will anyone be punished?

Meanwhile, the inquiry into the Post Office Scandal is ongoing. Remember, the Post Office prosecuted 736 subpostmasters and postmistresses between 2000 and 2014, landing them with criminal convictions when in fact the real culprit was the faulty computer system Post Office management had imposed on them. Lives were ruined. Some of those accused took their own lives. The Post Office’s CEO at the time, Paula Vennells, was given a CBE in 2019.

And there is nothing new about any of this. It is now 34 years since the Hillsborough Disaster. Remember, 97 Liverpool fans died on that day or because of it. The 2016 inquests found that 96 were unlawfully killed. Andrew Devine who suffered life-changing injuries on that day in April died in 2021 and the coroner ruled he also had been unlawfully killed. Police negligence was the main cause. The police also lied and lied again about what happened at Hillsborough.

Nobody has been held accountable. (The only conviction came for Graham Mackrell, the then secretary of Sheffield Wednesday, who was found guilty of a single safety offence and fined £6,500.) Elsewhere, our rivers choke with effluent (sewage is dumped in Scottish rivers nearly 40 times a day on average; the daily figure in England is a staggering 825 times a day on average), while dividends to shareholders soar.

This is the country we live in, one that all too often pays lip service to ideas of equality and fairness, but in the end fails to move against corporations or public bodies when they manifestly fail. Beyond the bread and circuses, behind the coronation and the culture wars, this is the truth of it. Money trumps everything.

The civil damages settlement for Grenfell is to be welcomed. Of course it is. But justice. That’s what is really needed. Will the families of the victims get that? Frankly, the jury is out.