Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the removal of unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings and the related campaign by Justice 4 Grenfell.
People in our constituency and right across the country remain shocked and saddened by the devastating images of the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. I pay tribute to the families and friends of the 72 people who lost their lives, as well as the survivors and the wider community in north Kensington.
In the aftermath of the fire, the Government established a Building Safety Programme with the aim of ensuring 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. I share your concerns that hundreds of buildings remain covered in Grenfell-style cladding.
In Lewisham, the Council have gone to great efforts to ensure their buildings are free of the ACM cladding, fully removing it from the three blocks identified as having it.
I will continue to press the Government to make good on its promise to ensure that all high-rise residential buildings are safe and to take enforcement action against building owners who are failing to carry out remedial works.
More widely, while I welcome the announcement of a Building Safety Fund to support the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems, I do not believe that the size and scope of the fund will be sufficient to make high-rise buildings safe.
I am concerned that the Government’s plan leaves critical problems unresolved: first-come-first-serve funding will not protect all buildings; social landlords are excluded from the fund; there is no help for residents to deal with large insurance premiums, and no deadline has been set for when the work will be completed. I will press Ministers to address these issues urgently to protect residents and ensure that a fire like Grenfell can never happen again.