Keir Starmer to force Commons vote on dangerous cladding and ‘intolerable’ costs for residents

Labour leader describes issue as ‘huge injustice’

Keir Starmer to force Commons vote on dangerous cladding and ‘intolerable’ costs for residents

Sir Keir Starmer has revealed Labour will force a vote in the Commons over dangerous cladding, aiming to protect leaseholders from “intolerable” costs and unsellable properties.

Three and half years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Labour leader said millions are still living in “unsafe accommodation” and urged Boris Johnson not to vote against the party’s proposals on Monday.

Last year, the prime minister admitted that the failure to replace dangerous cladding was “disgraceful”, saying he was aware of residents’ problems,  unable to sell or remortgage their properties due to a delay in removing the material.

Some residents are also paying thousands — on top of costs for cladding removal — for “walking watch” services from private firms who patrol buildings and checking for signs of fire and sounding the alarm if a fire is detected.

Asked on LBC Radio what he was doing to protect leaseholders, Sir Keir said: “This is completely unacceptable. Three and a half years after Grenfell we’ve still got people living in accommodation which has got cladding that needs to be removed.

“So they are stuck in unsafe accommodation then they’ve got the additional issue which is if they want to move and sell — they run into real problems. Huge injustice.

“We’ve raised it with the government. On Monday we’re going to force a vote on this. Every now and again the Opposiiton get a chance to make an argument, put a motion that can be voted on.

The Labour leader added: “It’s an intolerable situation. I hope the government doesn’t vote against this.”

The non-binding motion calls on the government to urgent establish the extent of dangerous cladding, provide upfront funding to ensure cladding remediation can start immediately, and protect leaseholders and taxpayers “from the cost of pursuing those responsible for the cladding crisis”.

Labour’s shadow housing minister Thangam Debbonaire said: “Millions of innocent leaseholders are seeing their dream of home ownership become a nightmare, forced to spend lockdown trapped in unsafe and unsellable flats, with bill mounting. The number of bankruptcies is growing.

“Conservative MPs will have a chance to vote to ensure that the government keeps its promise and leaseholders are not burdened with the cost of fixing problems they did not cause.”

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