Tackling dangerous cladding is a 'national emergency' say Labour
19 November 2019, 14:34 | Updated: 22 November 2019, 07:04
The Labour Party plan to take urgent action to remove dangerous cladding from tower blocks across the country in order to prevent another Grenfell tragedy.
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey travelled to Bolton to announce Labour's proposal to tackle the "national emergency" of hazardous cladding on high-rise buildings.
The shadow cabinet member visited the site of last Friday's tower block fire in Bolton, claiming that complacency under the Conservative government was putting lives at risk.
He said: "It is shameful that, over two years since the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire, people are still living in tower blocks with flammable cladding.
"The Conservatives’ complacency is putting lives at risk, and the fire in Bolton must be a wake-up call.
"Labour will treat the removal of unsafe cladding as a national emergency and deliver real change for the thousands of people still living in homes with deadly cladding."
Official figures published last week suggest the government will miss targets for removing Grenfell-style cladding from such buildings by more than a decade.
Nine in 10 private blocks have not had the material removed, therefore Jeremy Corbyn's party have promised to fast-track its replacement.
A Labour government would seek to ensure block-owners prove they are making efforts to remove the material by the end of December, a party statement revealed.
Failure to do so will result in councils being allowed to take over the buildings to ensure the necessary work is completed to make them safe.
Offending blocks will be named and shamed under Labour's "five point plan" and funding would be made immediately available for councils who take them over.
Of the 267 high-rises yet to remove their hazardous cladding, almost 70 of them still have no plan in place to do so.
Boris Johnson visited the scene of the Bolton fire on Saturday afternoon and briefly met students who had been evacuated.
He called the response to the blaze "incredible" after the community used social media to help students affected by the inferno.
Two people were injured after the fire at The Cube in Greater Manchester, including one person rescued by crews via an aerial platform.
Images posted on social media showed firefighters tackling the blaze on the top floors of a six-storey building on Bradshawgate at around 8.30pm on Friday.
The Liberal Democrats have also criticised the Tory government for failing to act swiftly in replacing the material from high-rises across the country.
Jo Swinson's party urged ministers to meet "basic promises" and go further by funding the private sector.