Cladding crisis: Exhausted leaseholders to protest outside Parliament today

16 September 2021, 11:01 | Updated: 17 September 2021, 17:56

Leaseholders are set to descend on the capital to protest against the cladding scandal
Leaseholders are set to descend on the capital to protest against the cladding scandal. Picture: LBC / Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

People whose homes have been blighted by fire safety problems and dangerous cladding will protest outside Parliament on Thursday.

Leaseholders from Manchester, Liverpool and surrounding areas will march on the capital later demanding help from the government over repair bills.

Many have been hit with eye-watering costs for problems they did not know they had upon moving into their properties.

After the Grenfell Tower tragedy four years ago, which left 72 people dead, many buildings were reviewed and found to be encased in potentially lethal cladding, similar to what was used on the North Kensington tower block.

Read more: People stuck in ‘unsellable’ flats months after having cladding removed

Read more: Grenfell - council official 'regrets' not asking about cladding fire safety

Residents across the country have since been left to foot the life-changing bills to remove the material, with little support coming from ministers.

Earlier in the year, campaigners were told early details of the government's cladding loan scheme.

It will offer long-term loans against flats in buildings between 11 and 18 metres tall, capped at £50 a month, to pay to remove dangerous cladding.

However, LBC revealed that the scheme will be included in the already-delayed Building Safety Bill, which could take a year to fully pass and even longer to implement, according to industry experts.

Read more: Loan scheme to remove cladding from low-rises 'could take years to set up'

Read more: Labour hits out at delay to Government's cladding loan scheme

Many residents cannot wait that long, with some facing bankruptcies and evictions, and are taking matters into their own hands by protesting in London on Thursday.

The Leaseholders Together demonstration, which is part of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign, is set to start at 1pm in Parliament Square.

Campaigners are calling on the government to implement building safety reforms, act faster and fix the injustices they are facing.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is expected to give a speech at around 2pm, two hours before the event wraps up.

Ahead of the protest, Giles Grover, of Manchester Cladiators, said: "It's exhausting really, and that's whether you're a leaseholder, a resident facing the bills, or just worried about your own building.

"You're worried about your life and how you're going to cope with it."

A post on the End Our Cladding Scandal website reads: "Our fight is not just about cladding. It’s about all things leasehold. It’s the thing that ties us all together.

"The rally will see a range of MPs and speakers take to the stage and with your help will send a clear message to Government that enough is enough."

The demonstration falls on the same day as an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting on leaseholds.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "We have already introduced legislation to free future leaseholders of the additional costs associated with new leases, and we welcome the Competition Markets Authority’s continued success in securing agreements with developers to remove doubling ground rents for existing leaseholders.

“This will ensure leaseholders are given the fair treatment they deserve, and we strongly urge other developers to follow suit.”