It has become clear over the past few months how many leaseholders in Lewisham Deptford have been impacted by the cladding crisis and unclear Government buildings’ safety advice.
Leaseholders are understandably concerned about the prospect of substantial remediation costs being passed on to them and I have had many emails from constituents asking me to support the McPartland-Smith Amendment to the Fire Safety Bill when it returns to Parliament. While Labour are supportive of this amendment, we do not feel it goes far enough and have therefore tabled our own amendments to the Bill.
Labour’s amendments seek to protect leaseholders from unfair fire safety costs, regardless of when their lease was signed. This covers fire safety problems which came about as a result of refurbishments, as was the case with the Grenfell Tower. In contrast, the McPartland-Smith amendment only applies to defects that predate the start of the lease.
These amendments also include new clauses so that the Bill protects leaseholders from the day it comes into law, instead of an unknown date in the future.
Finally, Labour’s amendments ensure that, if the Fire Safety Order extended in the future, the Secretary of State must publish an analysis of the financial implications for leaseholders.
My colleague Sarah Jones, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, has provided a helpful thread to explain Labour’s amendments in more detail which can be found here: https://twitter.com/LabourSJ/status/1354737967902896129.
In my role as Shadow Minister for Disabled people, I am particularly concerned about the impact that the cladding crisis is having on disabled people. I am engaging with disabled people’s organisations about this matter and will make sure that their voices are heard in discussions with my Shadow Front Bench colleagues and in Parliament.
I am also hosting a second meeting to discuss further issues arising from buildings safety advice and leasehold properties in Lewisham Deptford, following on from an initial meeting last July. In consideration of current restrictions it will once more be a virtual event, hosted via Zoom on Thursday, 25 February 2021 from 7pm to 8pm. If you would like to attend the meeting, you must register beforehand.