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Local News

‘We’re banging our head against a brick wall’ say campaigners over latest government cladding move


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Fire safety campaigners in Yorkshire have warned the government the ‘next tragedy will be on their hands’ after plans were announced to charge developers for removing cladding.

William Martin, a member of the UK Cladding Action Group from Sheffield, said the proposals do not go far enough to help leaseholders as many still face bills for other fire safety improvements around their high rise buildings.

He said: “Even if they remove all the cladding there are other problems in these buildings and so they will only be half-safe. Every time the government announces something it feels like we’re banging our head against the wall, it took years of campaigning and the result is really disappointing.

“Things have moved forward but the funds they announced two years ago have still not reached people and lots of cladding is still on buildings. We sometimes forget why this is so important, just over four years ago 72 people died and the next tragedy will be on the government’s watch”

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This comes after Michael Gove announced plans to scrap the current system of providing loans to leaseholders and to replace it with a plan to give industry leaders 2 months to raise sufficient funding to remove the cladding.

He said: “More than 4 years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the system is broken. Leaseholders are trapped, unable to sell their homes and facing vast bills. But the developers and cladding companies who caused the problem are dodging accountability and have made vast profits during the pandemic whilst hard working families have struggled.

From today, we are bringing this scandal to an end – protecting leaseholders and making industry pay.”

Thousands of people in Sheffield are thought to be affected by unsafe cladding in Sheffield, with at least 36 buildings in the city having applied for government funding for fire safety issues.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn welcomed the end of the loan scheme but said the proposal does not cover the cost of fixing other fire safety defects such as missing fire breaks and flammable insulation.

He also criticised the lack of protection for leaseholders facing bankruptcy: “There are thousands of leaseholders, including many of my constituents in Leeds, who’ve already had such bills. They’re sitting on their tables and in their drawers.

Until they know they won’t have to pay them then all of the worry and the distress that they’re experiencing will continue.”

For Mr Martin, the struggle carries on: “It’s about the right to live in a home and feel safe.”

To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here.

Written by: Rother Radio News

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