The devastating Grenfell tower fire tragically claimed the lives of 72 people in June 2017. It’s a disgrace that, over three years later, there are still thousands of flats and other homes that are covered in the same flammable cladding that helped that fire to spread.
A report published by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in September said progress on removing unsafe cladding 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 Government promises that cladding costs would not be passed onto leaseholders, in reality, Ministers have done little to help. Leaseholders remain stuck in dangerous buildings facing ever increasing bills. Thousands of people have been forced to pay for mistakes that were no fault of their own, pushing many into negative equity and some even into bankruptcy.
This week, Labour forced a vote on this issue in Parliament and argued that the cost for replacing unsafe cladding should not fall on leaseholders or taxpayers. Instead, the Government should pursue costs from the dodgy developers, cowboy builders and manufacturers of flammable cladding through legal action.
Tory MPs failed to support our proposals and, in fact, didn’t even bother to show up to the vote. The Government should be doing all it can to prevent a repeat of the Grenfell fire but their inaction over cladding is putting more lives at risk.
Along with other Labour MPs, I’ll continue to push the Government to ensure that all unsafe cladding is removed, that leaseholders are protected from ruinous costs, and that those responsible pay to make homes safe.