Labour will hold a vote in the Commons to force government action on cladding to “protect millions of leaseholders from life-changing cladding costs and unsellable properties”.
In a statement, the Labour Party said: “Almost four years on from the Grenfell tragedy, the government has failed to get a grip of the cladding scandal, which is now estimated to affect millions of homes and as much as 16 per cent of Britain’s housing stock.
“Despite repeated promises from ministers that leaseholders would not bear the cost of fixing problems they did not cause, innocent residents are facing lockdown in flammable buildings, colossal bills for repair work (in some cases, bankruptcy), and hundreds of pounds per month on interim safety measures such as ‘waking watch’.”
Labour’s motion calls on the government to:
- Urgently establish the extent of dangerous cladding and prioritise buildings according to risk;
- Provide upfront funding to ensure cladding remediation can start immediately;
- Protect leaseholders and taxpayers from the cost by pursuing those responsible for the cladding crisis.
The move comes as Labour has tabled an amendment to the building safety bill to prevent building owners from passing unreasonable costs on to leaseholders.
A similar amendment tabled by Conservative MPs Stephen McPartland and Royston Smith has been signed by 27 Tory MPs.
Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “Millions of innocent leaseholders are seeing their dream of home ownership become a nightmare, forced to spend lockdown trapped in unsafe and unsellable flats, with bills mounting. The number of bankruptcies is growing.
“Government inaction on the cladding scandal has gone on for too long. Buildings must be made safe and residents must be protected. Ministers have consistently promised leaseholders they would not have to pay for this work, but consistently failed to deliver.
“Conservative MPs will have the chance to vote to ensure that the government keeps its promise and leaseholders are not burdened with the cost of fixing problems they did not cause.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “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 £1.6 billion 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.”