Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster, Nickie Aiken, spoke today in an Opposition Day Debate on Protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding.
You can read the speech that Nickie made below.
This debate and this whole issue is about people.
It is about what they hold most dear—their homes. Our home is where most of us feel safest; it is our haven, and so often our financial security.
I know the misery that so many leaseholders in my constituency are going through because of this crisis. It is important that leaseholders should not be made to pay for the remedial safety works required, and that they should be helped out of the nightmare that they find themselves in through no fault of their own.
One of my defining moments as Leader of Westminster City Council was in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, when I saw at first hand the devastating effect that that fire had on so many lives.
Seventy-two people lost their lives and paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we must never forget that.
Having spoken to Ministers, I know that they are determined to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again, but we must support all leaseholders to be able to draw a line under this torrid time.
I appreciate that the vast majority of buildings with ACM cladding have now had it removed, or the work is under way, including 100% of buildings in the social sector. I certainly welcome the £1.6 billion in Government grants that has helped towards that, and I hope that we see more help moving forward.
It is beyond me why building owners and property developers think it is acceptable to expect leaseholders to pay for remedial work such as cladding replacement when leaseholders bought their homes in good faith, in many cases many years ago.
I will continue to fight on leaseholders’ behalf to ensure that building owners and developers are held to account.
I look forward to hearing the Government’s plans to introduce the Building Safety Bill and other legislation that is obviously needed.
I understand that the Government are working to introduce that Bill very soon. I hope that they will introduce building safety measures and new laws to ensure that people’s homes are always safe and can be relied on. I reiterate the issues with mortgages and ensuring that people can sell their homes and remortgage.
It is unacceptable that people find themselves in this dreadful situation.
I understand that work has now been done on the external wall fire review forms—EWS1 forms—and that the Government have put £700,000 towards training more assessors so that we can do more of the surveying that is required to get the housing market moving.
Let me conclude by saying that leaseholders should never have been put in this position. These building materials should never have been allowed to be used on these buildings.
I welcome the opportunity to debate this subject today, and I really hope that the Government continue to listen and will bring in fire safety measures as soon as possible so that the dreadful tragedy of Grenfell can never happen again.
You can also watch Nickie’s speech above.