The Liberal Democrats have called for a public inquiry into the building safety crisis, describing it as a “national scandal of epic proportions”.
Daisy Cooper MP submitted a Ten Minute Rule motion today calling on the government to, “establish an independent public inquiry into the Government’s response to concerns about fire and building safety”.
Speaking to NationalWorld, she said: “After the Grenfell tragedy, the Conservative Government said “never again” - but four years later its own handling of the building safety crisis has degenerated into a national scandal of epic proportions.
“It’s incomprehensible that the government still doesn’t know the scale of the challenge, has cobbled together a feeble package of support that excludes so many of those who are affected, and is now actively back-tracking on its promise to protect innocent leaseholders from the extortionate costs of fire safety problems that are not of their making.”
The motion passed today and will go on to a second reading in September. You can read the full speech given by Daisy Cooper here.
What is the building safety crisis?
Also referred to as the fire safety crisis or cladding scandal, the building safety crisis has left thousands of leaseholders in unsafe, unsellable homes, with many facing massive bills for remediations.
There are tens of thousands of properties caught up in the crisis, at least, with people all over the UK impacted.
Most of the properties impacted are medium or high-rise apartment buildings, which have been fitted with unsafe external cladding, though there are many other common issues which mean even buildings without flammable cladding are often at risk.
The Building Safety Fund which was introduced to support leaseholders impacted by the crisis has been roundly criticised as inadequate, both in scale and design.
Speaking to NationalWorld, Stephen Squires, who has been caught up in the scandal, says he still cannot understand how people like him are being held liable for the cost of putting these properties right.
He said: “As a leaseholder I don’t own it, I didn’t design it, I didn’t build it, I didn’t sign off on it; but I’ve got the bill to pay?”
Leaseholders have long been calling for the government to cover the costs of all necessary remediation works, and to then recoup this from the parties at fault.
And despite attempts by MP to make developers liable for the bills, the government pushed through the Fire Safety bill, without this amendment.
The government also rejected an amendment which would have put a deadline on solving the crisis, of June 2022.