Islington Council urges government to support cladding victims
- Credit: PA
The government should take urgent action and fund the removal of dangerous flammable cladding, councillors in Islington have said.
The demand is one on a list of 10 drawn up by the End Our Cladding Scandal national campaign, which Islington Council has signed up to.
Thousands of leaseholders are trapped in unsafe homes across the UK which they are unable to sell because of unsafe cladding - and in the meantime facing sky-high insurance costs and footing the bill for fire wardens patrolling their blocks around-the-clock.
Some are at risk of bankruptcy and homelessness as the row rumbles on over who will pay to fix building safety defects.
In the aftermath of Grenfell, the government said building owners should take responsibility to replace dangerous cladding, but some owners have tried to pass the cost on to leaseholders.
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The government said it would meet the reasonable cost of replacing unsafe cladding for councils and housing associations in 2018.
Then in March it said it would provide £1bn to remove unsafe cladding on buildings taller than 18m in both the private and social housing sectors. It is now developing a long-term low-interest loan scheme – expected to be included in the forthcoming Building Safety Bill – under which “no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month towards removal of unsafe cladding".
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The council has joined calls to reform the requirement for homeowners to obtain a EWS1 form to prove the property is safe before selling, as well as for mental health support to be provided to those affected, and for them to be protected from historic and future costs.
The council's housing chief, Cllr Diarmaid Ward, said: “It is more than four years since the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, and yet government inaction has meant that cladding issues are just as prevalent today as they were in 2017.
“This has left many residents in limbo, unable to mortgage and re-mortgage properties, and therefore unable to buy or sell.
"This is fundamentally holding up people’s lives, costing Islington residents money they shouldn’t have to pay to address cladding issues, and putting them under unnecessary stress."
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was approached for comment.