I appreciate and sympathise with the cost, anxiety and stress many leaseholders have endured due to issues for which they bear no fault. I know that leaseholders in blocks with combustible cladding and other dangerous materials have experienced problems in selling their homes and re-mortgaging.
Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the UK Government established a Building Safety Programme with the aim of ensuring that residents of high-rise residential buildings in England are safe. However, nearly four years later, around 700,000 people are still living in high-rise blocks with flammable cladding.
A House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report said progress on remediation has been “unacceptably slow”, with residents facing exorbitant costs of funding interim safety measures and many residents reporting worsening mental health as a result.
Despite repeated promises that remediation costs will not be passed onto leaseholders, I am concerned that Conservative Ministers have instead proposed a loan scheme, which would entail leaseholders bearing the cost. I have raised the issue of cladding and the Government’s slowness to act on several occasions in Parliamentary debate, you can watch me raise this here:
Similarly, I have written several Written Parliamentary Questions on this topic:
Please also find a link to the speech I made on this important issue, which directly includes the comments you raised:
Along with my colleagues, I supported an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill to prevent building owners passing unreasonable costs on to leaseholders. Disappointingly, Tory Ministers rejected the amendment and it did not stand part of the Bill. In any future legislation I will continue to ensure that leaseholders are not required to pay for unfair remediation costs.
Going forward, I support calls for the Tory Government to establish a National Cladding Taskforce to address unsafe cladding and protect leaseholders from the costs of remediation. The Taskforce should be underpinned with strong powers to establish the full extent of dangerous materials on buildings, prioritise them according to risk and ensure there is enforcement against those who refuse to undertake works. It must be backed with up-front funding and include a legally enforceable deadline of 2022 to make all homes safe.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.