Homeowners who find themselves trapped at the centre of the ongoing external cladding scandal have vowed a summer of protests and ‘no end to campaigning’ after parliament voted against protecting homeowners against the cost of replacing dangerous cladding.
The promise of protests and campaigning follows the passing of The Fire Safety Act 2021 in parliament last week, a moment which also saw MPs vote against an amendment to the legislation which would have protected homeowners against the costs of removing and replacing suspect cladding.
In doing so, they leave homeowners facing bills of up to £100,000 each which, for the vast majority of people, will be financially and emotionally disastrous.
The government has previously said it will set aside £5 billion to help owners pay for the work, but this is only enough to cover the UK’s tallest buildings and does not stretch far enough to cover buildings below 18m tall.
The cladding scandal has been playing out for over four years now, since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 highlighted the vast amount of unsafe cladding that covers highrise buildings up and down the country.
A spokesman for End Our Cladding Scandal, a proactive coalition of frustrated homeowners from across the UK, was quoted in the Evening Standard following the most recent parliamentary let-down:
“We are feeling deflated but we have been here before. We have got a band of Conservative MP supporters now and there will be no end to campaigning. We are taking some time to regroup and then plan a rally and protest in the summer.
“We will still be focusing on what the Government can do, because ultimately they are the ones who have responsibility for forcing the only changes that can help us.”
The UK government must share responsibility for the existence of unsafe cladding, given how many publicly-owned or operated buildings have now been proven unsafe, so the fact that they’ve decided not to help owners pay for the changes is even more infuriating.
Furthermore, the government appears to be protecting the developers who are responsible for using unsafe cladding on their own buildings. Having failed to take proper precautions before selecting their cladding of choice, developers are very much being ‘let off the hook’ at the expense of owners and UK taxpayers who must now share the brunt of the cost.