Opposition calls for urgent action on cladding

The Labour Party is calling for a National Cladding Taskforce to protect those still living in homes with serious fire safety risks. Labour wants all homes made safe by next year and will hold a non-binding vote on the issue in the Commons on Monday 1 February.

As well as making the 2022 deadline for making all homes safe, Labour has called on ministers to make funding immediately available to remove the potentially dangerous cladding and pay for other urgent safety repair measures.

The announcement comes following the party’s analysis of data from the New Build Database and the Office for National Statistics, suggesting up to 11 million people could be left with ‘life-changing’ repair costs and unsellable properties. Labour said that up to 4.6m homes could be affected.

The taskforce would be modelled on the successful approach taken in Australia which prevents leaseholders from bearing the cost. It would conduct an audit to establish the extent of dangerous cladding on buildings. Other measures proposed by Labour include pursuing those responsible for installing the cladding and stamping out rogue building practices.

Not all 11 million people identified will have flammable cladding. Some will have fire safety issues identified as a result of inspections for cladding.

While the Commons vote will not have the power to force ministers to act, Labour hopes it will show the depth of feeling on the urgency of resolving the matter. The Government has told its own MPs to abstain on the issue.

Three years after the tragic accident at Grenfell Tower, the debate on 1 February highlights the plight of those presented with significant repair bills following safety inspections, as well as those living in properties they won’t be able to sell.

The vote 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.

Sir Kier Starmer Leader | Labour Party

Leaseholders shouldn’t have to worry about the unaffordable costs of fixing safety defects in high-rise buildings that they didn’t cause – and should be protected from large-scale remediation costs wherever possible.

We all want to see homes made safer, as quickly as possible and backed by our £1.6bn funding we are making good progress on remediating unsafe homes.

The Building Safety Bill is the appropriate legislative mechanism for addressing these issues and will be brought forward in due course.

Government spokesperson UK Government

Propertymark advocacy

Propertymark provided evidence to the Housing Committee’s Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Building Safety Bill in September. We also met with the Health and Safety Executive to discuss how the New Building Safety Regulator will operate.

As part of a cross-sector working group, Propertymark provides sector-specific guidance to help property agents better understand the impact on existing buildings with cladding and the new legislative proposals.

pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft building safety bill

29 Sep 2020
Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Building Safety Bill

Responding to the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Building Safety Bill, we acknowledge the need to upgrade building safety, however, there are concerns about the practical applications of a number of elements along with the cost to leaseholders.