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LANDLORDS continuing to use dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings should be named and shamed by ministers, Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey told the government today.
In an urgent Commons question, he asked Housing Secretary Kit Malthouse to update MPs on what action has been planned and taken by the government in relation to high-rise residential blocks with flammable cladding.
Mr Healey said it was a “national shame” that he had to drag ministers to the Commons to obtain answers while there were still hundreds of buildings “cloaked” in similar cladding to that which fuelled the Grenfell Tower fire and killed 72 people.
“It’s shocking that the government’s own figures show there were 437 high-rise blocks with Grenfell-style cladding and 370 are yet to have this removed and replaced,” he said.
“It’s shocking that the minister knows every one of these blocks but won’t name the landlords and won’t tell the residents.
“For over 19 months, any progress made has simply been too slow, too weak and always under pressure from this house. If the government can’t fix problems this serious and this urgent, what on Earth is it in office for?”
In Labour’s six-point plan for tackling the use of flammable cladding, Mr Healey calls for the testing programme to be widened to include all suspect building materials, a deadline for all blocks to be made safe and clarification of the legal duty for landlords to get this done without passing on the costs to “hard-pressed” leaseholders.
He also says there is a need to set up a loan fund for private blocks, name the landlords refusing to make the changes, so that residents are aware of the dangers of their homes, and toughen sanctions on landlords “up to and including taking over blocks.”
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