Non-ACM Cladding

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 28th April 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

What recent steps he has taken to help ensure the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding from high-rise residential blocks.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

At Budget we announced that £1 billion will be provided to fund the removal and the replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding from high-rise blocks to drive action at pace and protect leaseholders from unfair remediation costs. This is in addition to the £600 million already provided to remove Grenfell-style ACM cladding. As a result of covid-19, remediation work has currently paused on as many as 60% of sites, but I have been working to persuade companies to get back to work, and we are seeing some success. I have brought together Mayors and council leaders to issue a strong co-ordinated message that this important work can and should continue.

Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I thank the Secretary of State for his response. He will, though, I know, be conscious of the additional strain that—[Inaudible.]

Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

As we get close to the third anniversary of Grenfell, when 72 people tragically lost their lives, hundreds of thousands of tenants and leaseholders are still living in unsafe buildings. This is, as the Secretary of State will know, a double whammy for people in the lockdown, trapped in buildings cladded with flammable materials, with some out of work or out of business and having to pay expensive waking watch fees. I understand that the Secretary of State said in a call with the M9 Mayors that he would look into financial support from the Government for the cost of waking watch and other interim fire safety measures. Has that been done, and what was the outcome?

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

I am pleased to report that as a result of the call that I convened with Mayors from across the country, we were able to issue a co-ordinated message sending a very clear message to the sector that building safety is of critical importance, that works now need to continue, and that the sites that were closed should now reopen. I hope that colleagues from across the House will join me in that message, because it is important that we deliver it in a co-ordinated, cross-party fashion.

With regard to waking watch, I have asked the noble Lord Greenhalgh, the new Minister with responsibility for building safety, to look into this to see what we can do to reduce the cost of waking watch for members of the public in this position, and to ensure that waking watches, where they are required, can continue despite the lockdown.