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THE Tory government was slammed today after it failed to meet its own deadline for removing all flammable cladding from buildings.
There are still about 300 buildings covered in aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, three years on from the anniversary this Sunday of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people.
In July 2019, then Housing Secretary James Brokenshire set a deadline of June 2020 for all Grenfell-style cladding to be removed and replaced on tower blocks.
He warned building owners to “expect enforcement action” if action wasn’t taken.
A survey by UK Cladding Action Group revealed today that nine in 10 people living in homes with cladding say their mental health has suffered following the Grenfell fire, over their safety and the cost some leaseholders face to get cladding removed.
Justice4Grenfell spokeswoman Yvette Williams said: “We’re aware that the government has recently announced a fund dedicated to removing cladding, but it’s not good enough.
“It’s estimated the fund will only cover a third of households, it’s offered on a first come, first served basis, there is no commitment from the government to a deadline for completed works and it does not cover buildings under 18 metres.
“Residents in one tower block in Manchester have been told that they are ineligible to apply for funding.
“For the people affected there is still no clear understanding on the timeframe to have these panels removed.
“We believe the government needs to act with urgency and set clear timings for completion — and take accountability for an expedient removal.
“At a time where people are urged to stay in their homes more, safety is paramount. Over 23,000 households are still covered in Grenfell-style flammable cladding three years after the Grenfell disaster.
“The fight for change and justice must continue as many thousands of people’s lives are at risk.”
Shadow housing secretary Mike Amesbury said it “shames” ministers that their target has been missed by “such a large margin,” adding that ministers should live up to the promise to take enforcement action against non-compliant building owners.
Of the hundreds of buildings with cladding, 247 are in London.
Labour’s London Assembly fire spokesman Andrew Dismore said: “The Justice4Grenfell campaign is absolutely right to call for the government to set out a clearer timeframe for the removal of dangerous cladding and commit to full and binding accountability for meeting it.”
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