The next government will be putting people at risk of dying in a Grenfell-style fire if it does not act to end the dangerous cladding crisis, residents of affected buildings have warned.
In a call to political parties to take more decisive action to end the cladding scandal affecting hundreds of buildings across England, residents have warned that the response so far has left tens of thousands of residents trapped in dangerous homes.
Many are facing crippling bills of up to £80,000 each to pay for the removal work and have the threat of bankruptcy or homelessness hanging over them if they do not pay.
There are 318 high-rise buildings that still have Grenfell-style cladding, while thousands of others are thought to be affected by dangerous materials of other kinds.
Ritu Saha, a founding member of the UK Cladding Action Group and a resident of an affected building, said: “No political party standing at this election has yet put forward a plan to properly deal with the cladding crisis which has gripped the country since the terrible events at Grenfell Tower two-and-a-half years ago.
“Unless swift and decisive action is taken to identify the buildings and make them safe, there will be another fire. Our lives are at risk unless the next government solves this crisis.”
Fran Reddington, founding member of the Manchester Cladiators and a resident, added: “Asking leaseholders to pay for this work is unfair and unsustainable. People will go bankrupt or be thrown out of their homes and the work will simply not get done.
“The current approach has failed. Whoever wins this election must now promise to do better.”
After Grenfell, 436 buildings above 18m with similar cladding were identified but remediation work has completed on just 116. In the private sector, just 15 of 184 blocks have finished the work.
No work has yet been carried out to identify buildings with other forms of dangerous cladding or the risks to 100,000 medium-rise buildings which fall below the 18m cut off.
Along with Inside Housing, the resident groups have established the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign, which calls on the next government to establish a building safety fund to help cover the remediation work and set up a national taskforce to take control of the response.
Ministers have previously set aside £400m for the social sector and £200m for the private sector to pay for the removal of Grenfell-style cladding from residential buildings taller than 18m.
However, concerns have been raised about the administration of this latter fund, while affected residents are calling for all buildings to be affected by the cladding scandal, including those shorter than 18m or wrapped in other types of dangerous materials.
The Conservative manifesto pledges to continue to work with the industry to ensure that every home is safe and secure, support residents and continue with its “rigorous” materials testing programme, but does not make any concrete commitment on funding.
Labour has promised to “enforce the replacement of dangerous Grenfell-style cladding” on high rises.
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