Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, is calling on the Government to establish a new Building Works Agency. This proposed agency (consisting of government appointed engineers and experts) would be in directly charge of resolving the cladding crisis going block by block; assessing the problems; commissioning remediation works; paying for them and signing off buildings as safe and sellable so that leaseholders can get on with their lives.
This follow years of failed promises by the Government to make buildings safe and protect leaseholders from the crippling costs of remediation works. Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in unsafe blocks of flats four years on from the tragic Grenfell fire and millions caught up in the wider building safety crisis.
The deadline for the Building Safety Fund on 30th June is set to be missed, and as it stands only 10p in every £1 of the Building Safety Fund has been allocated. Working at this rate it would take until 2028 to fully allocate the fund. A tough new approach is needed quickly. As well as establishing the extent of dangerous cladding and prioritising them according to risk, a body of experts is needed to actually commission the works and pay for them using the existing Building Safety Fund so that this money doesn’t go to waste.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:
“For too long Government Ministers have buried their heads in the sand: dithering and delaying on an issue which requires urgent action. I have constituents living in dangerous leaseholder properties in Bedminster who are rightly furious with the Government for repeatedly betraying the promise that they would not be responsible for the financial cost of rectifying building safety defects.
“It is disgraceful that leaseholders are bearing the burdens of costs when the Building Safety Fund is laying largely untouched. Labour’s proposal for a Building Works Agency is the kind of action we need to take control of the crisis. It will be a body that can commission and pay for the works urgently needed to carried out on unsafe buildings and ensure they are paid for using the Fund.
“This crisis will never be resolved if the Government carries on breaking promises and shifting blame. A tough new approach is needed to safeguard lives and livelihoods.”