We all remember seeing the horrific scenes of the burning tower at Grenfell on the news over four years ago.
The tragic loss of 72 lives was a dark moment for our country and the cladding scandal that emerged emboldened me to stand up for the rights of all those living in unsafe buildings.
That event also was a lightning rod for the wider public and put a sharp focus on the quality of housing that many people live in – particularly in more densely populated urban areas.
millions of leaseholders now find themselves stuck in limbo and facing huge bills"
It was later found that the Grenfell tower was covered in unsafe, flammable cladding and lacked a whole host of basic fire prevention measures. Once again, we saw the dangers of developers putting profit ahead of safety.
Across the UK there were calls for swift action to support leaseholders to remove this dangerous cladding from their buildings. However, at both a Westminster and Devolved Government level, the response has been sluggish.
Due to Government inaction, millions of leaseholders now find themselves stuck in limbo and facing huge bills, often in the high tens of thousands of pounds, to remove this dangerous cladding.
They are unable to move or sell their property due to the cladding, leaving millions trapped as Mortgage Prisoners. Despite strong community action, and attempts to rally leaseholders together, the situation continues.
It’s appalling that the burden of responsibility is being placed on these innocent leaseholders, rather than the building owners and developers who cut the corners in the first place.
The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to End the Cladding Scandal for good."
The Conservatives strategy for dealing with this is to bury their heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine. They can announce big schemes all they want, but unless they listen to the concerns of leaseholders and shift the financial burden onto building owners – millions of men, women, and children will continue to suffer.
That is why I have been working tirelessly in Parliament to champion the voices and rights of leaseholders.
"Leaseholders have done everything right and nothing wrong yet they are being expected to pay for the failures of construction, of developers, and of materials manufacturers" @KathPinnock #EndOurCladdingScandal— Lib Dem Lords (@LibDemLords) July 20, 2021
Working alongside other peers, I have tabled 8 amendments to various bills on this issue and am working closely with Liberal Democrat MPs to keep applying pressure on the Government to change tack.
The most recent of these amendments was debated yesterday, but sadly the Conservatives once again voted it down. Their refusal to even explore what additional support we can give shows they simply don’t get the scale of the issue – or how it is affecting people.
For the sake of all those families who have seen their livelihoods destroyed we must act. We owe it to them to ensure they do not lose out due to developer greed.
The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to End the Cladding Scandal for good.