Today in Parliament I urged the Housing Minister, Chris Pincher, to resolve the longstanding problem of potentially flammable cladding on high rise blocks, by acting to replace dangerous cladding, ensuring testing of the buildings that need it, and closing a loophole affecting those in low-rise blocks (under 18 metres high). You can watch the exchange here:
Current rules only dictate tests must be done for buildings above 18 metres while mortgage lenders demand assessments of lower-rise blocks. The huge demand for tests means that there is a long backlog, with developers and block owners often unwilling to pay the high cost involved, meaning that there are up to half a million people unable to sell their homes, and many more feeling worried about fire safety.
This issue was raised with me by a constituent, who said that she feels “stuck between a rock and a hard place” as her “property is less than 18 metres and our management agency has advised they will not complete any surveys or testing of cladding on our property because of this. The sale of our property recently fell through because the lender wanted a completed EWS1 form.”
I’m pleased that I was able to raise her case in Parliament today, but it’s disappointing that the Minister did not commit to fixing this problem. This Government’s incompetence is out of control across the board, holding people back through their inconsistency and badly-designed rules. The Minister must act to replace dangerous cladding, ensure testing of the buildings that need it and close this loophole for those that don’t, so people can get on with their lives without stress or fear.