London mayor Sadiq Khan and housing charity Shelter have become the latest high-profile backers to come out in support of Inside Housing’s #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign to remove Grenfell-style cladding from private residential tower blocks.
Mr Khan said that the fact people were still living in what could be unsafe buildings was “shameful” and said it was “inexcusable” that the government is yet to form a plan to make them safe.
The mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has already pledged his support for the campaign, while Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, is also backing the campaign.
Since the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017, a total of 176 private residential blocks with dangerous cladding have been identified but removal work has been completed on just 10.
On many others, leaseholders are facing demands to pay for the removal work themselves, with some being quoted up £80,000 each.
The government had been encouraging private building owners and developers to pay for the work with some success, but progress has stalled and many leaseholders are still facing bills in dozens of blocks.
Mr Khan said: “We hear from many of those affected about the stress this situation has caused. I’ve been clear that building owners should take responsibility for the cost of making them safe – they should protect leaseholders from extortionate costs for both replacement cladding and interim fire safety measures.
“But I’ve also been clear that where disagreement about who should pay is delaying works, the government must fund the works directly and reclaim the costs from the building owners.”
He welcomed the campaign, adding: “Inside Housing has been a key player in holding ministers to account in the two years since the fire – I commend their vital work exposing the government’s failure to ensure the safety and well-being of those living in potentially unsafe blocks across London and the UK.”
Shelter also given its support for the campaign. Polly Neate, its chief executive, said: “It’s clear that it’s not the fault of leaseholders that this dangerous cladding has been used and they shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill. We would like to see assurances so that no leaseholder is left out of pocket.”
Inside Housing’s #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign is being run with UK Cladding Action Group and Manchester Cladiators, which represent residents of affected towers across the country.
It already has the support of a wide range of backers (see list below) including the National Housing Federation, Chartered Institute of Housing, Fire Brigades Union, Local Government Association and Grenfell United.
It calls for a public fund to deal with all dangerous cladding systems, a two-year timescale to carry out the work, and reimbursement for any costs already incurred for interim measures, such as a waking watch.
This list will be updated. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to support the campaign