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Government doing ‘bare minimum’ on fire safety for leaseholders, MPs hear

THE government was accused today of doing the “bare minimum” to help leaseholders whose homes are covered in flammable cladding and riddled with fire safety defects.

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, condemned the Tory government for its proposal to only pay for the removal of cladding from buildings over 18 metres high.

The Fire Safety Bill returned to the Commons today. It was proposed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 that killed 72 people.

The former shadow chancellor said: “I share the view of the FBU (Fire Brigades Union) that the government seems to be doing the bare minimum to fend off bad headlines. 

“My constituents are really very angry. They have been hit with potential bills from developers, for things like rectifying wooden balconies and other defects that were not of their making.

“My constituents in lower-rise blocks don’t see why they’re being discriminated against.”

Mr McDonnell and Hammersmith Labour MP Andy Slaughter said that the government should adopt all amendments to the Bill that protect leaseholders from being burdened with debt.

Mr Slaughter said that the government appears to only have made a “series of partial concessions” to leaseholders, which he slammed as “irresponsible.”

Salford and Eccles Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey said that many of her residents are facing bills of “up to £100,000 per flat and increased insurance premiums.”

She added: “My constituents are devastated.

“[The situation] is so bad that the UK Cladding Action Group nationally have reported suicides, and 23 per cent of those surveyed by the group had considered suicide or self-harm. “

Conservative MP Steve McPartland’s amendment, aiming to protect leaseholders from the costs of carrying out emergency fire safety work, has cross-party backing.

But No 10 blasted the amendment, saying that “far from speeding things up … it would actually slow things down.”

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