Thursday 28 January 2021 / 9:40 AM Housing / Thangam Debbonaire

Labour to force vote to protect millions of leaseholders impacted by cladding scandal

Labour will hold a vote on Monday 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 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.

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:

“Millions of innocent leaseholders are seeing their dream of home ownership become a nightmare, forced to spend lockdown trapped in unsafe and unsellable flats, with bills mounting. The number of bankruptcies is growing.

“Government inaction on the cladding scandal has gone on for too long. Buildings must be made safe and residents must be protected. Ministers have consistently promised leaseholders they would not have to pay for this work, but consistently failed to deliver.

“Conservative MPs will have the chance to vote to ensure that the Government keeps its promise and leaseholders are not burdened with the cost of fixing problems they did not cause.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The Opposition Day debate motion, tabled today, is as follows:

Keir Starmer
Angela Rayner
Thangam Debbonaire
Mike Amesbury
Steve Reed
Mr Nicholas Brown

Protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding

That this House 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; and update Parliament once a month in the form of a Written Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State.