Government urged to ‘get a grip’ on cladding crisis
Labour leader Keir Starmer has set out a series of demands to tackle the cladding scandal. These include a new National Cladding Taskforce, modelled on the successful approach taken in Australia, being set up.
Labour’s analysis shows that one in six UK homes are now at risk from the cladding scandal.
Later today, MPs will debate a Labour motion in the House of Commons on protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding.
The National Cladding Taskforce would drive forward Labour’s six demands for safer homes. These include immediate up-front funding for removing deadly cladding and other urgent fire safety work, and protecting leaseholders and taxpayers by pursuing those responsible for the cladding scandal for costs.
Labour is calling for legislation to protect residents from costs. Thousands of leaseholders have received unaffordable five-figures bills to make their homes safe, despite buying them from government-backed builders in good faith.
Labour accused the government of ‘years of delays’ and ‘ineffective measures’.
The taskforce the party proposes would be given strong powers to establish the full extent of dangerous materials on buildings, prioritise them according to risk, and ensure there is enforcement against those who refuse to undertake works.
Labour’s analysis of figures from the New Build Database and the Office for National Statistics suggests the cladding scandal could be even larger than previously thought, affecting as many as 11 million people.
The New Build Database estimates the scandal may affect up to 4.6 million properties, with an average of 2.4 residents per property. Data also shows the scandal risks freezing the entire market for flats, after sales halved compared to last year.
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, said: “Today needs to be a turning point for those affected by the cladding scandal. Millions of people have been sucked into this crisis due to years of dither, delay and half-baked solutions from the government.
“For many leaseholders, the dream of home ownership has become a nightmare. They feel abandoned, locked down in flammable homes and facing ruinous costs for repair work and interim safety measures.
“I urge Conservative MPs to vote with us in parliament today and put their constituents’ safety and security first. And I urge the government to get a grip of this crisis through a national taskforce and by implementing Labour’s six demands.”