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March 8, 2018

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Flammable cladding removed from just 3 out of 300 council-buildings since Grenfell

800 tower blocks across the country are estimated to still have flammable cladding, almost 9 months since the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Speaking during a debate in Westminster on Tuesday (6 March), the Croydon North MP said: “Three hundred are council-owned and will eventually be made safe, although it is worrying that nine months after Grenfell only three have so far been completely re-clad, and around 500 blocks are privately owned, but the Government are doing nothing to help the people living in them.”

The former local government minister and Conservative MP Bob Neill said some of his constituents, who live in a block of 57 flats in Bromley have spent £80,000 on a two-man, 24-hour waking watch on the building and its cladding.

Residents stuck in buildings with flammable cladding

“Many of the residents are young professionals,” said Mr Neill. “I received a letter from one constituent whose flat was the first home that she and her husband were able to buy. They have no chance of moving on. They are stuck with an asset that has turned into a liability.”

In response, the housing minister Dominic Raab said the remediation process for buildings with ACM cladding is a “complex process”.

Residents being charged from removal of cladding

MPs have accused the Government of doing nothing to help tenants facing huge bills to remove dangerous cladding in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The Labour MP Steve Reed highlighted the plight of his constituents in the Citiscape tower block, who are facing bills of up to £31,000 per flat to remove aluminium composite material (ACM) from the building.

“These people are stuck in a building that they describe as a deathtrap, unable to move and unable to afford the cost of making their homes safe,” said Mr Reed.

Private sector

“In the private sector, of course, the allocation of responsibility depends on the terms of the leasehold arrangements, as qualified by general law,” the minister told MPs.

“In some cases the costs fall, in practice, to landlords or building owners; it may be clearer in some leases than in others. Where the costs do not fall to landlords or building owners as a matter of strict law, we continue to urge those with responsibility to follow the lead of the social sector.

“We urge those private companies to do the right thing, and not to attempt to pass the costs on to residents.”

 

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