Tory MP blasts 'incompetent' Housing Secretary over cladding crisis

10 February 2021, 14:15 | Updated: 10 February 2021, 14:41

By Fiona Jones

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has told the Commons that leaseholders living in high rise buildings with dangerous cladding will face "no extra costs" to remove it.

Mr Jenrick promised an "unprecedented, clear plan" to fix the cladding crisis affecting thousands of homeowners.

However, anyone in a building with dangerous cladding that under 18 metres in height will still need to get a loan.

Tory MP Stephen McPartland told Tom Swarbrick he was listening to the announcement with "his head in his hands."

"It's clear he doesn't understand what's happening, they don't have a grip of the issue, it's incompetence and I think it's time the Prime Minister stepped in," he said, branding Mr Jenrick's speech as "all smoke and mirrors."

He added: "Nothing in the announcement will help you around Waking Watchers, excessive insurance premiums and fire safety defects that are the root cause of the problem in a lot of these buildings."

The Conservative MP estimated that the true cost of removing cladding from high rise buildings alone will cost £15 billion, not the £5 billion being offered.

He said: "I think the Government has got to step in and deal with this issue, there's an estimated 11 million people affected in this country...the Government's actually caused the problem."

Mr McPartland said he does "not at all" trust Mr Jenrick to solve the cladding issue, branding him "incompetent."

"I said to him last year in the Chamber he needs to get out of his ivory tower, stop talking and start helping people. We've got to help people, it's not good enough," Mr McPartland said.

Tom remarked that he was struck at the anger the MP was displaying towards his own Government.

"Unfortunately on this particular issue we've let people down," the MP responded.

Exclusive: Cladding crisis: Flat owners 'exploring bankruptcy and facing bills of over £100,000'