Our new campaign calls on the government to act to end the scandal of residents trapped in private residential blocks with dangerous cladding
Since the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 2017, 176 private residential buildings have been discovered with similar, dangerous cladding systems.
While money has been provided for remedial work on social housing blocks, there is no funding to remove this material from private buildings. This is resulting in the cost being passed to leaseholders who face the double threat of financial ruin and a devastating fire.
Our new campaign calls on ministers to act to end this scandal. Other solutions have been tried and have failed – a fund (not a loan) to remove this material is now the only viable way to save leaseholders from the position the situation they have been placed in and prevent a second disaster.
The campaign has support from politicians across the political spectrum, the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Grenfell United group of survivors and bereaved from the Grenfell Tower fire and celebrities including the TV architect George Clarke.
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Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation said: "It should go without saying that everyone must be safe in their own home.
"But dangerous cladding has been used on tower blocks of all tenures across the country because government fire safety regulations were not fit for purpose. The government must now take financial responsibility for ensuring that each and every home affected, no matter who owns it, is made safe and fast.”
Suzanne Richards, executive member for housing and regeneration at Manchester City Council, said: “I have heard first-hand the stories from residents about how living in a block that is not deemed fire safe can impact on their emotional health and well-being.
“On top of this they have the additional worry of the threat of bills, of up to £80,000 in some cases, landing on their doormat.
“This is unacceptable and government must now step in and fund post-Grenfell remediation works.”
Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “Cladding has not been removed because freeholders and warranty providers do not want to take responsibility. These homeowners are stuck in a void with no end in sight.
“Government needs to bang heads together and find a solution quickly because these people have been sold a duff product. If no one will take responsibility then government must step in and take action to protect people urgently.”
Andy Dark, assistant general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “It’s a scandal that residents who are living in tower blocks covered in flammable cladding and where basic fire safety is substandard have no certainty whatsoever that their homes will be made safe.
“Whether publicly or privately owned, the remedial work needs to be completed quickly and the government must take responsibility for getting the job done.”
Martin Boyd, chair of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, said: “It has taken far too long for government to take action to remove dangerous cladding from thousands of people’s homes.
“This has always been either the fault of regulations or the failing of the developer but nobody seems willing or able to challenge either group.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform, said: “No one should be left in the position of having worked and saved for years to become a property owner, to then learn – through no fault of their own – their home is no longer safe.
“This campaign rightly highlights the consequences of inaction and I urge the government to take responsibility as a matter of urgency.”
John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “I fully support the campaign from Inside Housing calling on the government to fully fund all works needed to remove dangerous cladding from all housing blocks.
“Ministers have rightly said their top priority must be to ensure that people are safe in their own homes, and it is entirely unfair to expect residents to find tens of thousands of pounds to fund this without any help whatsoever.”
Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: “It is outrageous that two years after the Grenfell disaster there are still 40,000 leaseholders across the UK who are stuck living in unsafe blocks with dangerous cladding.
“The government must move fast to replace flammable cladding on every building, no matter who owns it, and must do it now.”