Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, is urging leaseholders, tenants, and management associations to respond to a new House of Commons Select Committee call for evidence concerning the new draft Building Safety Bill.
The Housing, Communities, and Local Government Select Committee is currently seeking responses to the government’s draft proposals which have been triggered by the many outstanding issues that have gone unresolved since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
Shabana is concerned that the new draft Bill currently fails to address key areas of concern still facing leaseholders and tenants caught up in the scandal, including:
- many leaseholders still look set to be burdened with the costs of remedial work for previously identified safety issues, and even potentially for any new defects discovered;
- there is no evidence that an impact assessment will be undertaken to ensure tenants with current issues won’t lose out;
- tenants will have only 28 days to pay the new building safety charge, included in the draft Bill;
- the draft Bill gives little attention to the mechanisms through which building materials will be tested for official safety compliance; and
- the residents’ committee suggested in the Bill could become a statutory tick-box exercise, rather than meaningful consultation.
Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, said:
“While I’m pleased the government has finally brought forward its long-awaited Building Safety Bill, the draft Bill simply does not deliver the changes that are needed for leaseholders who are currently living in properties affected by this scandal. Far too many of my Birmingham Ladywood constituents are still facing eye-wateringly high service charge hikes and, in its current form, this Bill will mandate them to pay these fees through a new charge altogether.
“The cost of remedial works to make buildings safe must not be shouldered by those who bought these properties prior to the significant safety concerns the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire exposed. I would urge anybody that has been affected by these issues to fill in the Select Committee’s call for evidence – you must make your voices heard.”
The committee’s call for written evidence can be accessed here: tinyurl.com/y4jzek32.
Shabana has been working closely alongside local campaigners, including the Birmingham Leaseholder Action Group (BrumLAG) and the UK Cladding Action Group (UK CAG) on the many issues they have faced since the problems associated with flammable cladding were first exposed. She is continuing to push for further action to ensure that buildings such as Brindley House and the Islington Gates development have the full costs of remedial works met by the government’s Building Safety Fund. She is also seeking assurances as to when these funds will reach management associations who are successful in applying for support. Alongside this, she is continuing to put pressure on the government to implement interim measures to prevent the insurance industry from making “unacceptable hikes” in premiums which are leading people to “financial ruin”, according to cross-party stakeholders.
Over the summer, Shabana has also launched a “Cladding Scandal Consultation”, through which she is inviting Birmingham Ladywood constituents who continue to be affected by the scandal to share their experiences with her. She says this will form the “vital foundation” of her campaigning on this issue moving forwards.
“I’d like to thank all of the local residents who have taken part in my Cladding Scandal Consultation so far. The results of this survey will help to underpin my future Parliamentary work on the many issues the victims of this scandal are still shamefully facing.
“I’m pleased that we have made progress in our efforts to finally bring this scandal to an end but sadly the government continues to drag its feet. I won’t stop fighting for the justice all constituents and others who have been affected by this issue across the country need and deserve.”
Shabana’s Cladding Scandal Consultation can be accessed here: tinyurl.com/yxveksc7.