Salford MPs Rebecca Long-Bailey and Barbara Keeley have both expressed “despair” and disappointment over the most recent Government cladding announcement.
The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has defended his heavily-criticised plan to end the “cladding scandal”, insisting it is fair that lower-rise leaseholders face bills of up to £50 a month for the removal of unsafe materials.
Robert Jenrick said it was a “pretty affordable amount of money” which would mark a “huge step forward” for people who would otherwise be “very, very worried that they are going to have massive, unmanageable costs”.
I just despair at @RobertJenrick announcement on cladding: Nothing for non ACM cladding fire safety defects and loans for ACM in buildings<18m! No leaseholder should have to pay for fire safety defects they didn't cause-under these plans it seems many will. @ukcag @EOCS_Official
— Rebecca Long-Bailey (@RLong_Bailey) February 10, 2021
Mr Jenrick unveiled a £3.5 billion package on Wednesday which he said would mean no leaseholders in high-rise blocks in England will face charges for the removal of unsafe cladding.
Fire-safety improvements were brought in following the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 in which 72 people died when flames spread via combustible cladding.
Deeply disappointing announcement – backtracking on the promise that leaseholders should have no costs to pay to remove cladding
Leaseholders in shorter buildings must take out loans to remove cladding, after ministers refuse to pay https://t.co/jS6WX3CwbM
— Barbara Keeley 💙 😷 (@KeeleyMP) February 10, 2021
But his announcement drew a furious response, with critics, including some Tories, warning it fails to address the problems faced by residents living in unsellable flats in unsafe blocks.
The Grenfell United pressure group said it was “too little, too late”.
“We needed something to deal with this mess once and for all – we didn’t get that today,” they said in a statement.
“Residents living in unsafe homes will go to bed tonight worrying if their building will qualify or be left out once again.
“And bereaved and survivors of Grenfell will lay awake fearful that what happened to us could still happen again.”
However, shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire said the Government is still under-estimating the scale of the problem.
“They still don’t know how many buildings are unsafe, where they are or what danger they pose,” she told the Commons.
“Government inaction and delay has caused the building safety crisis to spiral.
“People cannot continue to live in unsafe, un-sellable homes.
“Homeowners shouldn’t face bankruptcy to fix a problem they didn’t cause.
“Unfortunately, these proposals will still leave too many people struggling and facing loans instead of being given justice.”