Every night spent in an unremediated building, whether it be with ACM or non-ACM cladding, or other fire safety defects, can be a sleepless and fearful one, and I believe swift and decisive action on the part of building owners is necessary in order to end our cladding scandal. I recently spoke in the House of Commons on this issue, calling for the Government to set clear targets for remediation, so there would be no excuse for inaction from building owners.
As a member of the Housing, Communities, and Local Government Select Committee, I have heard how leaseholders across the country are wrongly being forced to pick up the bill for remediation works, partly due to increasing costs as inspectors uncover additional defects during the process. I am pleased that, after I and other colleagues raised this issue in Parliament, the Government has announced an additional £3.5 billion in grant funding for building safety works, on top of the existing £1 billion Building Safety Fund.
I know that many leaseholders are concerned about whether this new fund will be enough to resolve the issue. I will examine the new fund’s implementation closely, and if necessary I will not hesitate to call for additional action from the Government to protect leaseholders.
More broadly, the Government is acting to ensure that the cladding scandal never happens again. The Fire Safety Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, clarifies the responsibilities of building owners and managers for reducing fire risk for cladding and other parts of buildings, and empowers ministers to regulate to implement recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The Building Safety Bill, which my select committee has been scrutinising before it is brought before Parliament, will also provide clearer accountability and stronger duties on those responsible for high rise buildings.