Around 1.4 million people in the UK are living in homes at high risk of fire because of Grenfell style cladding. This includes the residents of Northpoint Tower in Bromley who have finally had the dangerous cladding removed only to find that there is dangerous material within the structure of the building that can't be removed, so they're still having to pay thousands of pounds each to pay for a waking watch while living in a dangerous unsellable home.
Lib Dem Peer Kath Pinnock spoke about the crisis. "The Government actions to put this scandal right have been shameful. Government has provided £1.6bn to remove cladding, but its own estimated cost is £16bn. The question is who pays for cladding removal? Building owners have passed on the cost to leaseholders, meaning individuals are faced with a very substantial extra charge. The lowest I have seen is £12,000, the largest £115,000."
"Leaseholders are unable to sell a property that has no value, unable to afford the huge capital costs, unable to afford the monthly waking watch charges, and find their home is not only a safety risk but also a financial burden."
"The leaseholders have acted responsibly in purchasing their homes, but they have been sold a defective product. When car manufacturers find defects in their models, they are recalled and fixed at the manufacturers’ expense. This must happen to end this cladding scandal. The Government must fund the remediation and recoup the money from the construction companies out of fairness and common justice."
Baroness Pinnock has proposed an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill currently going through Parliament. Her amendment proposes that no leaseholder or tenant should have to pay for any costs associated with living in a home deemed unsafe due to its cladding. The amendment has been passed by the House of Lords and we're now awaiting a response.
In the meantime our hearts go out to the residents of Northpoint who are living a nightmare, and to all other Bromley residents living in unsafe flats.
Northpoint residents have received supporting noises from the local MP Bob Neill and Bromley Council but as ever very little in the way of actual action. The Liberal Democrats support the 10 demands of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign and are calling on both the Government and the Mayor of London to work together to immediately ensure properties are made safe and none of the remediation or associated costs are passed on to leaseholders or residents in the capital. Please sign our petition here.
We have written to Bromley Council to ask for a full list of affected buildings as the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government has asked them to gather this information. In the meantime if you know of any properties affected by the cladding scandal please contact us at [email protected]