Labour are forcing a vote in Parliament today to force government action on the cladding scandal and protect millions of leaseholders from life-changing cladding costs and unsellable properties.
Almost four years on from the Grenfell tragedy, the UK Government has failed to get a grip of the cladding scandal, which is now estimated to affect millions of homes and as much as 16 per cent of Britain’s housing stock.
Despite repeated promises from Ministers that leaseholders would not bear the cost of fixing problems they did not cause, innocent residents are facing lockdown in flammable buildings, colossal bills for repair work (in some cases, bankruptcy) and hundreds of pounds per month on interim safety measures such as ‘waking watch’.
Labour’s motion calls on the Government to:
- urgently establish the extent of dangerous cladding and prioritise buildings according to risk;
- provide upfront funding to ensure cladding remediation can start immediately;
- protect leaseholders and taxpayers from the cost by pursuing those responsible for the cladding crisis.
The move comes as Labour has tabled an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill to prevent building owners from passing unreasonable costs on to leaseholders. A similar amendment tabled by Conservative MPs Stephen McPartland and Royston Smith has been signed by 27 Tory MPs.
What this means for Wales:
The Welsh Government has taken a clear stance that it does not believe leaseholders should have to pay to rectify issues that constitute failure to build or maintain buildings to appropriate quality standards and building regulations.
They have repeatedly made clear that where developers have clearly failed to build to required standards, they should put these faults right. However, they cannot compel building owners to undertake remedial work at their own financial expense. Only the Conservative Government in Westminster can extend the legal liability to make it easier to pursue bad developers, and if necessary impose other ways of making up the funding from those who continue to exploit the system.
Where the Welsh Government can act, they have taken decisive action – they have ensured that all high rise building in the social sector have been remediated. They have passed world-leading legislation to ensure that all new buildings are fitted with sprinklers. Their White Paper on Building Safety will comprehensively reform the legislation that contributes to building safety in Wales. However, inaction from the Conservative Government in Westminster, has limited the Welsh Government’s ability to respond to the cladding crisis.
Proposals for additional upfront funding from the UK Government would allow Wales to accelerate their remediation, and legal changes to make it easier to pursue those responsible for putting up dangerous cladding would also help Wales to protect the taxpayer.