Rupa Huq MP hosts virtual meeting on cladding crisis
Rupa Huq MP hosts virtual meeting on cladding crisis

This news first appeared in Ealing Today

Almost 50 Ealing and Acton leaseholders dialled in to hear from the panellists, including Sebastian O’Kelly of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and Sarah Jones MP, Labour’s Shadow Fire Service Minister. Representatives from local housing associations, including A2 Dominion, Catalyst, Notting Hill Genesis and Shepherds Bush Housing Group also inputted.

Huq, who last year asked the Prime Minister about the unobtainable status of the EWS1 form, a safety certification document that must accompany property sales which leaves residents trapped, said the meeting was constructive and informative. It was also the first official engagement for newly selected Labour candidate for Ealing Broadway ward Claire Tighe in the upcoming Ealing Broadway by-election where a councillor position will be up for grabs at same time as voters go to polls for London Mayoralty and Onkar Sahota’s post on the London Assembly is up for re-election. Ealing Broadway ward includes blocks such as Dominion House.

The MP, who also serves as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on London Housing and Planning, added: “Unsafe cladding has been an incredibly active issue in the inbox lately, so I invited every constituent who has written in on the topic to take part in this discussion. Four years after the tragedy of Grenfell after everyone vowed ‘never again’ but millions are still affected by the scandal, trapped in an impossible bind taking a devastating toll on their mental health and forking out for pricey safety measures.

“There had been a partial widening of cladding funding but the Conservatives have not gone far enough: they voted against putting vital Grenfell Inquiry recommendations into law. And they voted down protections for leaseholders so they are no longer burdened with the costs of fixing problems they did not cause.

Sarah Jones MP said “Buildings must be made safe and residents must be protected. I am committed to doing all I can in Parliament to resolving the cladding crisis once and for all.”

A multitude of examples were heard from residents in heart-breaking situations who thought they had moved to the home of their dreams only to find in reality the situation had fast become a nightmare,

Sebastian O’Kelly said afterwards: “I found the meeting really interesting. Good to get the views of both the housing association executives and the leaseholders, though they differ somewhat, I could not help noticing.”

The Government has said it will fund the removal and placement of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18 metres. In buildings of 11-18 metres, with a lower risk to safety, leaseholders will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal through a financing scheme so that leaseholders will never pay more than £50 a month.

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