By Harry Scoffin
The directly elected mayors of Manchester and Salford will join MPs, and possibly London mayor Sadiq Khan, in a demonstration over the cladding scandal outside Parliament on February 25.
Andy Burnham, a former Labour cabinet minister, and Paul Dennett will be joining cladding leaseholders and MPs such as Sir Peter Bottomley, co-chair of the APPG on leasehold and joint patron of LKP, and Hilary Benn.
MAYOR of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and City Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett are calling on the Government to take immediate action to support high rise residents living in unsafe buildings.
A large number of other MPs will undoubtedly turn out, as may Sadiq Khan, the London mayor.
The demonstration will take place at Old Palace Yard (opposite the Lords) at 1pm-1.30pm.
The event has been organised by the Manchester Cladiators group.
Leaseholders from across the country who are being affected by the cladding crisis are urged to attend.
Andy Burnham said:
“The Government needs to take action in the forthcoming Budget. Residents are living a nightmare at the moment and should not be left in this limbo a moment longer. Every week that the Government fails to act is a week where many will face another bill that they can’t afford. This is why we are holding a lobby of Parliament on 25 February. Our residents’ lives are being ruined through no fault of their own. The Government need to hear their experiences and concerns and support residents by making a package of financial and mental health support available.”
Paul Dennett said:
“Over two years on from the Grenfell Tower fire, Greater Manchester still has 78 buildings that have adopted interim measures because of significant fire safety deficiencies.
“It is wholly unacceptable that residents are still left ‘trapped’, many are unable to sell, insure or re-mortgage their homes and are faced with bankrupting bills just to make their homes safe from fire. The Government must own their rhetoric, they said residents and leaseholders shouldn’t be paying for the remediation of their buildings yet they continue to do so. This is a regulatory crisis on an industrial scale of which residents continue to pay the price.”
Politicians of all parties are demanding that the Treasury take action to end the “cladding lottery” to help leaseholders who do not currently qualify for government money because their blocks do not have Grenfell-style ACM [aluminium composite material] panels.
Labour heavyweight Hilary Benn, the MP who secured the Westminster Hall debate on February 12 said the government’s approach to stressing the “unparalleled fire risk” of ACM as the reason for not expanding the fund as “completely unsustainable”.
Manchester Cladiators is now established as Northern Cladiators in an effort to widen the activist group to include private blocks from Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield, as well as Manchester.
The Sunday Times journalist Martina Lees wrote:
“Cladding bills have a bigger impact in the north of England, where lower property prices mean repairs can cost half a flat’s value.”
In the article, Fran Reddington, 34, who co-founded the Manchester Cladiators (@McrCladiators) last year, said: “A lot of residents in the North feel isolated. We want to make a loud voice for Boris Johnson.”
In London, too, residents are clubbing together under the UK Cladding Action Group (UKCAG), with more than 144 flocking to an oversubscribed meeting organised with LKP at City Hall earlier this month.
They have all become prisoners in their own homes. They can’t move jobs. They can’t get married. They are putting off having children. They can’t retire. They are stuck.Martina Lees, The Sunday Times
The flat owners with the most expensive fire patrol in Britain have had a “clad-ucation”, as they call it with commendable black humour. It started with strangers in hi-vis vests loitering in the courtyard of their timber-clad block in Leeds. Then they spotted the marshals watching Netflix – and X-rated content – while on duty.