Fire safety bill
Fire Safety Bill proposals to protect leaseholders from costs of repairs defeated in the Commons
On the 19 March 2020, The Home Office introduced the new Fire Safety Bill, in an effort to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales. The Bill has recently passed through the House of Commons, following amendments tabled from the House of Lords which were defeated in a Commons vote on Wednesday 24 February 2021.
A proposal from the House of Lords, the Labour Party and a number of Conservative backbenchers to amend the Fire Safety Bill has been rejected after a vote in the Houses of Parliament on 24 February. The change was designed to protect homeowners and leaseholders from costs to repair fire safety deficiencies in their buildings, such as the remediation of dangerous cladding, fire doors and insulation systems.
It has been widely reported that some homeowners are facing bills in the hundreds of thousands as a result of fire safety concerns, while insurance costs are also rising significantly.
Amendments that were defeated also included a proposal to force the Government to implement a recommendation from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, whereby building owners must communicate what materials are used in wall systems to fire brigades, as well as monthly inspections of lifts and yearly inspections of fire doors.
Those who voted down the amendments noted that they were “not sufficiently detailed” and “could delay repairs”, with the question of who should pay for repairs to be dealt with in the forthcoming Building Safety Bill, according to a report from The Guardian. Shadow Fire Secretary, Sarah Jones, called the “Gov narrative total nonsense”, when referring to ministers highlighting the need to move the Bill forwards and prevent further delays, saying amendments were simply trying to “ensure leaseholders don’t pay and speed up Grenfell recommendations”.
Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, tweeted his disapproval of the decision shortly after the announcement, calling the decision to vote against putting “vital Grenfell Inquiry recommendations” into law “shameful”.
For more on the Fire Safety Bill, visit our sister site, IFSEC Global.
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