Cladding Crisis: Tory MP defends Housing Secretary from incompetence charge

10 February 2021, 15:42

By Sam Sholli

A Tory backbencher has defended Robert Jenrick from criticism over his handling of the cladding crisis after the Housing Secretary was branded "incompetent" by a colleague.

Earlier Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the Commons that leaseholders in high-rise blocks would no longer face costs for cladding remediation work.

However, anyone in a building with dangerous cladding that isn't a high rise will still need to get a loan.

But Mr Jenrick did confirm a cladding loan scheme for buildings lower than 18 metres and explained that the Government will develop a "long term low-interest scheme to protect leaseholders".

He also promised that people in low and medium-rise blocks would never have to pay more than £50-a-month for cladding removal work.

However, politicians across the House have reacted angrily to Mr Jenrick's announcement, with Conservative MP Stephen McPartland branding Mr Jenrick "incompetent" while speaking to LBC.

Responding to Mr McPartland's remark, Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake told Tom Swarbrick: "I don't accept that at all. I know Stephen very well.

"But when Robert Jenrick was given the role of Housing Secretary, there was only £200 million being allocated to tackle this problem."

"It's now £5 billion and the rest of the problem will be mitigated long-term low-interest loans. So I think Stephen is wrong there. But nevertheless there are issues that still need to be resolved."

Mr McPartland has estimated that the true cost of removing cladding from high rise buildings alone will cost £15 billion, not the £5 billion being offered.