The Labour Party has suggested that it will be the year 2043 before the UK’s cladding scandal is rectified as we approach the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy.
According to the Big Issue, Labour has studied the rate at which the government has been removing and replacing dangerous cladding up and down the UK, and concluded that “removing all cladding from buildings across the UK could take 22 years if the remediation works continue at the same pace seen so far”. This would mean the scandal is not rectified until 2043.
The scandal revolves are aluminum composite material (ACM) cladding, a flammable and incredibly dangerous material that still, to this day, coats hundreds of residential buildings up and down the country, a fact that Labour calls a ‘nightmare’.
Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, Lucy Powell, said:
“How many more years will the government allow people to live in unsafe homes?
“The government’s woeful lack of leadership is condemning hundreds of thousands of people to a living nightmare, wondering if the next disaster will occur on their block. The whole system is clogged, and most of the funding hasn’t even been paid out.
“We cannot pass another Grenfell anniversary with people living in unsafe homes. The government should set a deadline to make all homes safe by June 2022, and back this up with funding, enforcement and support for residents at the heart of this crisis.”
But the Conservatives disagree, saying instead that they are making steady and admirable progress in the face of a large, complex programme. In response to Labour’s claim that it will take an estimated 262 months to address all of the estimated 2,107 buildings over 18m with dangerous cladding on them in the UK, the government said:
“These misleading claims are completely false. It is irresponsible scaremongering which ignores the significant progress that has been made in removing dangerous cladding. Work is completed or underway in 95 per cent of buildings identified by the start of 2020 as having ACM cladding.
“Our priority is making sure residents are safe by removing dangerous cladding from the highest risk buildings as quickly as possible, backed by over £5 billion of government funding.”
While the two parties bicker and disagree over the pace at which the cladding should be removed, thousands of tenants and flat owners are stuck in limbo, unsure whether their homes are safe to live in, unable to sell their property due to this uncertainty, and facing bills in the tens of thousands to eventually replace the cladding because the government piggy bank doesn’t go nearly far enough, and many developers and freeholders are trying to sidestep the responsibility of covering the expenses themselves.
The crisis continues and we will update with all of the important updates as they arrive.