Andy Burnham to address crowds at cladding scandal protest this weekend

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP and the mayor of Salford city will also speak at the ‘March to the Quays’ rally

Andy Burnham will address crowds of leaseholders and their supporters at a protest this weekend.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester will speak at the protest against the government’s handling of the cladding and building safety crises, in Salford on Saturday.

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Salford City mayor Paul Dennett will also be at the march, along with former Labour leadership contender and MP for Salford and Eccles, Rebecca Long-Bailey.

‘Trapped’

The organisers of the protest say that leaseholders caught up in the crisis feel “trapped” in unsafe homes, and the fear of impending bills which could lead to bankruptcy is having a major impact on their health.

Hundreds of leaseholders are expected to turn out to the ‘March to the Quays’ protest, which will start at 11am Saturday at the Salford Quays Tram Stop.

Campaigners say there has been a “collective state and industry failure” which has left people all over the country facing massive bills for remediation works required through no fault of their own.

Speaking to NationalWorld, Giles Grover, Co-Leader of the Manchester Cladiators said: “The impact to our health is huge; financially but particularly mentally.

“We feel trapped in homes that we have been told are either unsafe or may be unsafe with our stresses multiplied by the knowledge that we are still on the hook for costs running into tens of thousands of pounds to make our homes as safe as they should have been in the first place.

“The effect this has on our daily lives cannot be underestimated; it is usually the first thing we think about when we wake in the morning and in our minds all day. It is difficult to get any downtime from the awful situation we are still facing due to this collective state and industry failure.”

Why are leaseholders protesting?

Many leaseholders who live in homes that have been deemed unsafe under regulations enforced since the Grenfell tragedy are facing massive bills for remediation works to put right the fire-safety defects.

The cost is falling on leaseholders, who do not own the buildings or commission the works, rather than the freeholders or developers who are responsible for the faulty work.

The government has consistently claimed it will not allow the costs to fall on innocent leaseholders, but has also failed to introduce legislation which would help the vast majority of those affected.

Groves said: “During the Fire Safety Bill ping pong earlier this year, Ministers kept saying the Building Safety Bill would be where this issue was addressed.

“However, this has turned out to not be the case now the Building Safety Bill has been laid before Parliament and we see this as a betrayal of the promises that were made - we are aware that a number of Conservative MPs share our view and we are asking MPs across the United Kingdom to stand up for fairness now before our lives are completely destroyed.”

“In the meantime, many are facing increased insurance premiums as well as additional costs for building surveys and waking watches; 24/7 security guards who patrol the building to make sure there are no fires. “

In Greater Manchester, leaseholders have been quoted more than £100,000 in some instances for remediation works which are no fault of their own.

‘Fight for fairness’

Rebecca Fairclough, Co-Leader of Manchester Cladiators says: “The Government is still not doing anywhere near enough to finally bring an end to this living nightmare – we are physically, financially and mentally trapped in unsafe homes and we need the Government to finally and fairly ensure there is a solution that truly protects the innocent victims of this crisis.

“These are the promises successive Ministers and Prime Ministers have made and we will not stop campaigning until they hold true to their words. March to the Quays is a chance for our residents to have their voices heard and let the public know that this nightmare is far from over for them.”

“We know there is still a battle ahead but we are ready to do all we can to fight for fairness.

She added: “We ask all those who are affected, or even know someone who is affected, to please join us and show that we truly are stronger together.”