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Firefighters condemn government attempts to silence flat owners from speaking to press over cladding

FIREFIGHTERS’ union FBU has condemned an attempt by the government to stop flat owners from speaking to the press over dangerous cladding without its approval.

Even where there is “overwhelming public interest” in speaking to journalists, building owners or leaseholders applying for a fund to help remove flammable cladding must inform the government first, according to a draft agreement for the funding revealed by the Sunday Times.

The government set up a £1.6 billion fund last year to repair dangerous buildings, but also warned that it might not cover all the costs of removal.

Today, the FBU tweeted: “At every stage of the UK’s building safety crisis, the government has sought to ignore or delay dealing with matters of life and death.

“And now they’re trying to silence residents trapped in dangerous homes. Solidarity with all those affected.”

The UK Cladding Action Group tweeted that it was “clearly a matter of public interest” that these issues were aired in public.

“No department should be hiding behind non-disclosure agreements to stop scrutiny of their actions,” the group said.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has insisted that the wording in the agreement is “standard” and in place to ensure applicants come to the government first.


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