Party says 56,000 people living in blocks with dangerous cladding three years after Grenfell blaze
As many as 56,000 people are still living in tower blocks clad in Grenfell-style ACM cladding, three years after the blaze at the building which cost 72 lives.
The government in 2018 promised that all tower blocks with dangerous ACM cladding would have the material removed by June this year, however, of 455 blocks identified as being affected, only a third – 155 – have had repair work completed, according to official figures.
The Labour Party claimed that an analysis of the figures by it showed that three-quarters of residents living in affected blocks have still not had the material removed. It said that this amounted to 56,000 people affected, and added that at the current rate of work, it would take nearly 40 years for all dangerous cladding – ACM and non-ACM – to be removed from affected buildings.
The number come after a report last week from the communities department select committee which called on the government to increase funding for work to replace dangerous cladding, and to consider taking over tower blocks using CPO powers where work hadn’t been carried out.
The government has pledged £1.6bn to pay for the removal of dangerous cladding on tower blocks across the country, but campaigners insist the money is not sufficient and hard to get hold of. Works have been held up by legal disputes over who is liable for the cost of repairs, which both freehold owners and leasehold residents insist they cannot afford.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick wrote to Grenfell residents over the weekend to mark the three-year anniversary of the blaze. He said: “My colleagues across government remain as committed as ever to ensuring that such a tragedy can never happen again. We share your desire for truth and justice and are not waiting for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s conclusions before we implement some of the biggest changes to fire and building safety regulations in a generation.”
However, Labour shadow secretary of state for housing Thangam Debbonaire called the delays a “national disgrace”. She said: “Ministers have missed their own deadline for cladding removal and must now take the enforcement action they promised to make buildings safe.
“Grenfell-style cladding is just the tip of an iceberg. At the current pace it could take decades to end the cladding scandal. This vital work must speed up. It is a matter of life and death.”