Ministers write to Grenfell victims

Michael Lloyd

June 12, 2019

Ministers have written to the Grenfell victims to inform them of the work they are doing to ensure people living in high-rise buildings are safe.

The secretary of state for communities James Brokenshire MP and the minister for Grenfell victims the Nick Hurd MP wrote the letter.

It read: “Ensuring everyone can feel safe in their homes is of paramount importance.

“Immediately after the fire we started work to find and make safe buildings with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding, like that used on Grenfell Tower, to ensure that all those living in high-rise buildings are safe and feel safe from the risk of fire.

“We have now made £600m funding available for the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on high-rise residential homes.

“We have banned the use of combustible materials during building work on the external walls of buildings of 18 metres or more high containing flats and hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation.”

The ministers said that the green paper, ‘A new deal for social housing’, announced their intention to carry out a review of the regulatory framework for social housing to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, reflects changes in the sector, and drives a focus on delivering a good service for residents.

The two MPs, Brokenshire and Hurd, added in the report: “Alongside the green paper we published a call for evidence which sought views on how the current regulatory framework is operating. We are finalising our response to the green paper.”

The Labour Party has argued that if owners of high-rise buildings with Grenfell-style cladding haven’t removed them by the end of the year, councils should seize the buildings.

The government will allocate £200m for privately-owned high-rise buildings to remove and replace the unsafe ACM cladding. And a year ago the government gave social housing blocks access to a £400m fund for repairs.

Speaking on behalf of the government, James Brokenshire MP said: “Where building owners have failed to step up, it is now imperative for the government to act.

“We must ensure the long-term safety of the people living in these buildings…This fund is about public safety: It will allow remediation to happen quickly, it will restore peace of mind, and it will allow residents living in these blocks to get on with their lives.”

Responding for the opposition, John Healey MP added: “Who would have thought, that after the solemn pledges made by the Prime Minister and other ministers in the aftermath of that terrible Grenfell Tower fire, that nearly two years on, still there are Grenfell residents in hotels and  temporary accommodation, not in permanent homes.

“Still almost eight in 10 blocks with Grenfell-type cladding have not had it replaced […] Still no comprehensive testing programme has been done on the estimated 1700 high-rise or high-risk buildings with dangerous non-ACM cladding.”

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