Labour says government is failing leaseholders as cladding crisis deadline is rejected in parliament
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The government has defeated a bid to put in place a “cast-iron deadline” of June 2022 to complete safety works in response to the cladding crisis.
Opposition MPs criticised the government’s failure to prevent the “potentially ruinous costs” of remediation works being passed on to leaseholders and tenants.
Shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell, setting out her party's Queen's Speech amendment, said the date would be five years since the Grenfell disaster before adding "nobody should pass this milestone living in an unsafe block".
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told MPs the Government's "landmark" Building Safety Bill is coming soon and it will aim to deliver the "biggest improvements to building safety regulation for a generation".
Labour's amendment was defeated by 358 votes to 220, majority 138.
Government ‘has its head in the sand’
Ms Powell said in a statement after the vote: "Leaseholders and residents living in dangerous blocks will be bitterly disappointed.
"The building safety crisis has gone on too long. Nobody should pass the five-year anniversary of Grenfell still living in an unsafe home, but today the Government voted against a cast-iron deadline.
"The Government has its head in the sand. Their warm words just don't meet the urgency of the crisis. We need much greater leadership to help those trapped in dangerous, unsellable homes, and protections for leaseholders and tenants worrying about the next bill to hit the doormat."
Speaking during the debate, Mr Jenrick said: "It feels especially poignant to be introducing the Building Safety Bill so close to the fourth anniversary of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
"I'm acutely conscious of the significance to the bereaved and the survivors who, more than anything, never want any community to go through what they have suffered. That is what our landmark bill aims to deliver through the biggest improvements to building safety regulation for a generation.
"Building on the Fire Safety Act it will embed the new building safety regulator as part of a wide-ranging, rigorous approach to regulating the built environment in this country."
Mr Jenrick said it would also implement recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt's review, strengthening accountability and responsibility across the sector with "clear duties and responsibilities" for building owners and managers.
Products used in the construction of buildings will also be bound by "rigorous" safety standards, residents will have a "stronger voice" to seek redress and financial support will be given to tenants to remove unsafe cladding, Mr Jenrick added.
The minister said he would "take up" Ms Powell's offer to work together.
Video Credit: End Our Cladding Scandal