Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, and Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, have written to the Housing Minister, Lord Greenhalgh, to call on him to take action to address the outstanding issues which continue to impact the lives of people living in properties clad with flammable materials.
The pair previously successfully lobbied the Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) to bring forward the £1 billion Building Safety Fund, which was set up to help leaseholders meet the extensive remediation costs associated with removing Grenfell-style cladding and other unsafe materials. While stating that the fund is “much needed and welcome”, they now say that it is “insufficient” in solving many of the problems too many high-rise residents continue to face. They have asked to meet with the minister, and urged him to “review the size, scope, and conditions” of the fund to ensure all leaseholders are able to make their properties safe.
The joint letter highlights three key issues which need further action from ministers: the scope of the fund, the data underpinning decision-making, and the exponential rises in insurance premiums many of the affected leaseholders are now facing.
Street and Mahmood have been working closely with the Birmingham Leaseholder Action Group (BrumLAG), the UK Cladding Action Group (UK CAG), and others to help rectify the litany of issues that have arisen post-Grenfell. Ms. Mahmood will also be seeking to secure key changes to the government’s new Building Safety Bill to ensure some of the points of contention raised in the letter are taken forward.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:
“Many thousands of leaseholders across the West Midlands are deeply worried about the properties they live in. They are unable to sell and are paying out extortionate sums of money for a variety of fire safety measures, including waking watch safety patrol schemes, through no fault of their own.
“The Government’s Building Safety Fund is welcome, but its scope is too limited and simply won’t go far enough to address the complex problems being experienced. We need further Government action in the region – and indeed across the country – to remedy these serious issues.”
Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood, said:
“The hundreds of thousands of leaseholders who are still being affected by the cladding scandal aren’t interested in party political point scoring. They just want the government to deliver on its commitment to do right by all those who have been impacted by the issues that were so devastatingly exposed by the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
“Over three years on from that terrible night, it is unacceptable that many leaseholders and tenants are still awaiting remediation works to be undertaken on their properties and, as a result, are facing soaring service charges through ballooning insurance premiums. Many of them are also unable to sell or re-mortgage their homes. This perpetual state of limbo can only be solved through government action – ministers must not let these people down.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- A copy of the letter is attached to this press release.
- For further information or comment, please contact Will Hingley on 07880 231914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.