Almost four years after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, around 7,099 people in Bristol are still living in flats with flammable cladding. Dangerous cladding renders flats unsellable, leaving many families affected unable to sell their homes and enduring months of lockdown in unsafe homes.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, pressed Minister for Housing, Christopher Pincher MP, to respond to a proposal by a cross-party Parliamentary group for a bond scheme to help pay for remedial works.
In Parliament, Pincher suggested that developers, investors and building owners should be responsible for paying the cost of cladding removal and other work related to building safety only if they “have the means” to do so.
Both Labour and Conservative MPs, including Karin, opposed the suggestion that leaseholders should be made to take out loans in order to pay for repair costs.
On Monday, Karin Smyth MP voted for a Labour motion in Parliament calling on the Government to urgently establish the extent of dangerous cladding provide up-front funding to ensure cladding remediation can start immediately. However, Conservative MPs failed to show up for the vote when the division was called.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:
“It has been almost four years since Grenfell, yet only a handful of buildings in Bristol have had the urgent repairs needed to make them safe. Lives have been put on hold as dangerous cladding renders flats unsellable, trapping thousands of people in unsafe homes.
“Recent statements made by the Housing Minister in Parliament were very concerning in suggesting leaseholders may have to shoulder the burden of paying for repairs. I recently heard extremely worrying stories from constituents in Bedminster who are being asked to pay thousands of pounds in remediation bills that they cannot afford. It is essential that leaseholders should not be expected to pay bills to rectify problems with original construction.
“This has gone on for too long. Every day that passes puts thousands of people at risk in Bristol. We need to ensure everyone has a safe and secure place to live, and that those responsible are made to pay the costs.”