New Clause 16 - Monthly building safety updates

Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 26th October 2021.

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“(1) The Secretary of State must within three months of the day on which this Act passes and monthly thereafter lay before each House of Parliament a report on the progress of cladding remediation.

(2) The report must include an overview of—

(a) the progress of the remediation of non-ACM cladding;

(b) the remediation progress of—

(i) social residential buildings,

(ii) private sector residential buildings,

(iii) student accommodation,

(iv) hotels,

(v) hospitals,

(vi) care homes, and

(vii) publicly owned buildings identified has having in need of remediation due to unsafe cladding of any height,

(c) data collected from fire authorities, including—

(i) the numbers of waking watches,

(ii) other interim safety measures, and

(iii) fire alarms installed in residential buildings awaiting remediation or other building safety work.

(d) estimated dwelling numbers in all estimates.

(3) The report as set out in subsection (1) shall include—

(a) regional breakdowns of all data points;

(b) identify whether remediation has been funded through government funding, developer or freeholder funding, through warrantee or by other means; and

(c) detail what proportion of government funding has been allocated and paid out in the period since the last report was published.

(4) The report will no longer have to be published when all buildings identified as having cladding in need of remediation have completed remediation.”.—

This new clause would ensure the Government provide regular written updates on the progress of the remediation programme of non-ACM cladding in line with what is currently published on ACM cladding.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The new clause takes its lead from the Government’s statistics on ACM remediation. The most recent release, the September 2021 “Building Safety Programme: monthly data release”, covers 34 pages and breaks down in detail the types of building with ACM and the progress made in removing and replacing the dangerous cladding over time. It also covers the allocation of funding and gives an update on enforcement proceedings against owners of buildings yet to make their buildings safe. It is a detailed look at what progress is being made to tackle the ACM safety crisis.

We are not getting the same amount of information about non-ACM buildings. Instead, we receive an update covering the funding status of the 3,175 buildings that applied for the building safety fund. Although we are grateful that the Department is now releasing more information than previously on non-ACM funding, there is much more to be done to ensure that the Government’s progress in fixing the crisis is as transparent as possible without risking the security of individual buildings.

The new clause suggests one additional point to be included in a non-ACM monthly report, which could also be included in the ACM monthly report—information collected from local fire authorities outlining the interim safety measures that have been put in place. As we have just heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth, waking watch and other interim safety costs are playing a large part in pushing leaseholders to the brink. It is important that they are included in released information on our progress fighting this crisis.

I would be grateful if the Minister could outline why there is a difference in the data release for ACM and non-ACM remediation funding and progress. Does he agree that transparency and being able to track the progress of remediation, as well as the safety measures involved, are necessary to build back trust in the system and in the Government’s interventions? If so, I hope that the Minister can accept the new clause.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

I hope that in responding relatively briefly to this new clause I can help the hon. Gentleman. I think that the new clause is unnecessary, and I want to assure him and the Committee that his intention has already been met by the Government, and will continue to be met.

In addition to the data released showing progress on ACM remediation, we also separately publish monthly data related to the progress of the building safety fund, covering remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding, as well as monthly data on the waking watch relief fund. We will continually review the information we hold on cladding remediation and publish all appropriate information when it is ready, which involves undertaking necessary quality assurance. As we have done with the ACM database, we will expand the amount of data and analysis on remediation progress for buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding when the data is available and once it has been appropriately quality assured.

The hon. Gentleman asks if we will do more; the answer is yes, but we will do it when we are able to provide quality data, properly quality assured. For example, further analysis is being undertaken related to the building safety fund, the data collection on the external wall systems on high-rise residential buildings and the material that is in use on residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres. Data on these areas will be published in due course, adding to what we already publish monthly.

The Committee has acknowledged that the data published on the progress of ACM remediation is high quality, full and transparent. We look forward to being able to do the same with non-ACM remediation and waking watch relief fund data as they are available. Given that explanation, I hope the hon. Gentleman will withdraw his new clause; we intend to deliver just what he is looking for.

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

I welcome the Minister’s commitment to expand the data that will be available in the public domain when it is quality assured. However, as a point of clarity: when is due course?

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.