On 1 February the Labour Party held an Opposition Day Debate on Protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding.
Rushanara has campaigned for over three years on this important issue. In April 2019, she challenged the Chancellor to commit to financing the removal of ACM cladding which you can watch here. Continuing this pressure on funding, in February last year, she took part in a Westminster Hall debate which can be viewed here. In July last year, she secured a well-attended Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons which you can watch here.
Unfortunately, Rushanara was unsuccessful in the ballot to speak in the Opposition Day Debate, but made the following statement:
"The Government’s lack of urgency in dealing with the issue of cladding on social and private housing blocks is extremely worrying. In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government established a Building Safety Programme to ensure that residents of high-rise residential buildings are safe. Yet three years on, the Government has missed its target for removing dangerous Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding. Instead of taking responsibility, they have instead sought to pass on the cost of removal to leaseholders. This has led to 4.6 million people being trapped in unsafe buildings unable to sell their property.
As costs begin to escalate for leaseholders, it is time the Government got a grip and ended this scandal. I am also pleased that Labour has secured an Opposition Day debate on this issue to maintain pressure on the Government.
I fully support the two Labour amendments to the Fire Safety Bill, which have three aims. Firstly, to urgently establish the extent of dangerous cladding and prioritise buildings according to risk. Secondly, to ensure upfront funding so cladding remediation can start immediately. Thirdly, to protect leaseholders and taxpayers from the cost by pursuing those responsible for the cladding crisis. I will also be supporting the McPartland and Smith Amendment as it provides clarity on the specific costs that would be prevented from being passed on to leaseholders. However, this amendment alone does not provide the necessary detail, including crucially, how the balance of payments should be split between the responsible parties.
The Grenfell Tower fire was a manmade disaster, the residents' concerns, just like leaseholders today, were routinely ignored."