Recently the government announced funding towards the cost of removing unsafe cladding on buildings. However, the plans have been widely criticised for not going far enough – as they still leave the cost of crucial safety measures with many leaseholders.
Homeowners in blocks less than 18 metres tall are left out of this new cladding crisis fund, and will instead be offered long-term loans, which risks pushing people into negative equity.
Labour believes that government have failed to provide the support needed to deal with all the safety problems faced in high-rise homes – including those that relate to non-ACM cladding, such as Sheffield buildings like Metis and Wicker Riverside.
Quite simply, the government have betrayed leaseholders as many of them are having to pay for the national building safety crisis through no fault of their own.
Council Leader Bob Johnson had previously confirmed Labour’s support Sheffield Action Cladding Group (SCAG) and tomorrow the council will debate a Labour motion calling on government to take 10 urgent steps to end the national cladding crisis, as advocated by SCAG.
Labour City Ward Candidate Matthew Dwyer has first-hand experience of this issue and commented:
“I’m very happy to see Labour councillors supporting Sheffield Cladding Action Group and calling on the Government to take these 10 steps to end the cladding scandal and support the residents affected.
“I can see the effect this is having personally, as my own block is having extra surveys to see if it meets fire safety standards, but it’s below 18 metres so would not be able get Government support. It’s simply unacceptable and this situation and much worse is being repeated across the city.
“This is a massive problem not only in Sheffield, but across the country, and affects millions. Failure to act will abandon residents and cause untold harm to our city centres and housing. I’m glad Labour are sticking up for private tenants and I hope it will have cross party support across the council”
The 10 steps to end the National Cladding Scandal – as advocated by Sheffield’s Cladding Action Group and supported by Labour:
- The government must lead an urgent national effort to remove all dangerous cladding from buildings by June 2022.
- The Building Safety Fund must cover all buildings, regardless of height, and a range of internal and external fire safety defects, not just cladding.
- The government should provide the money up front and then seek to recover it from any responsible parties or via a temporary levy on development.
- Social housing providers must have full and equal access to the fund.
- The government must compel building owners or managers to be honest with residents about fire safety defects.
- The government should cover the cost of interim safety measures.
- The government should act as an insurer of last resort and underwrite insurance where premiums have soared.
- A fairer, faster process is needed to replace the EWS form and funding is necessary to ensure all buildings requiring a form are surveyed within 12 months.
- Mental health support must be offered to affected residents.
- Protecting residents from historic and future costs must be a key commitment of new building safety legislation.
You can read Labour’s Full Notice of Motion – “Demanding An End To The National Cladding Scandal” – Given by Councillor Paul Wood and to be seconded by Councillor Jim Steinke