Cladding crisis: 'Terrified' caller in dangerous block backs Labour's calls for task force

1 February 2021, 10:05

By Fiona Jones

This "terrified" caller lives in a block with inflammable cladding yet without a working fire alarm - she supports Labour's calls for a national task force to deal with the crisis, saying something must be done.

A national task force needs to established to "get a grip on the deepening cladding crisis", Labour has said.

Sir Keir Starmer made the call ahead of a parliamentary debate on Monday about protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding.

Labour will push for a vote on the issue in demanding the Government urgently establishes the extent of dangerous cladding and prioritises buildings according to risk.

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Lee from Colindale told Nick Ferrari, "I totally agree that residents need a way out of this mess. Many residents bought home as an affordable way of living and this is what was advertised for us at the time. However it is anything but affordable.

"At the moment we have three Waking Watch men patrolling on site as we currently don't have a working fire alarm.

"Residents are completely terrified...some residents are paying upwards of £350 a month per service charge for just a basic block."

Lee also told Nick that many residents in the estate are liable for any cladding costs as the Government grants are only partly funding costs.

"We have to have a way out," Lee said, "I understand the six point plan that was proposed earlier on today. We need something to be decided and we need something to be decided soon."

The National Cladding Taskforce proposed by Labour would be modelled on the approach adopted in Australia and would seek to urgently carry out an audit to establish the extent of dangerous materials on buildings.

Six demands have been set out by the party towards fixing the issue, including providing immediate up-front funding to remove deadly cladding and setting absolute deadlines to make homes safe.

The measures include creating new laws to protect leaseholders from being passed historic fire safety costs, protecting leaseholders and taxpayers by pursuing those responsible for putting cladding on the buildings, as well as stamping out rogue builders by reforming the sector.

The party has also said the Government should work with lenders, insurers and other industry leaders to ensure residents can sell and remortgage.