Labour Childs Hill Councillor, Anne Clarke, is calling for the Government to extend the recently announced £3.5bn fund for cladding works to buildings under 18m. The fund should also include other fire safety works.
The Government’s announcement foists the cost of necessary remedial works onto leaseholders in lower-rise blocks through a loan scheme, while blocks over 18m qualify for the grant. This leaves many leaseholders with the prospect of unaffordable debt and negative equity, trapped in homes they are unable to sell. Bills for works in some blocks are averaging at around £50k per leaseholder.
In an open letter sent to local newspapers, Cllr Clarke writes:
“Cladding has become a major national story. Rightly so; thousands of local residents have been caught up in this scandal.
“Last week’s highly anticipated announcement on Government funding to sort out the mess not only fell very short, but laid bare the government’s failure to grasp the severity and complexity of the situation. Whilst it’s welcome that buildings over 18m will have dangerous cladding removed, many of these buildings also need remedial work and often have flammable installation or other building defects. The government failed to find adequate funding to cover the cost of removing cladding for the majority of blocks which are lower rise and under 18m, or the extortionate costs of waking watches and increasing insurance costs. There is still no clear way forward while leaseholders still face bills of tens of thousands of pounds, are unable to sell, and as many as 1 in 6 are exploring bankruptcy.
“It was heartening to see Sir Keir Starmer take this issue forward with an opposition day motion in the House of Commons, which put pressure on the government to do the right thing by the thousands of people who live in dangerous and expensive situations.
“In all of this, leaseholders should not be paying for the cost of failure of government and regulation, no matter how tall their building.
“I encourage everyone to sign our petition calling on the Government to take action to address these points.”
- A link to the petition can be found here: https://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/2020/10/26/end-our-cladding-scandal/