Hackney MP slams government over missed Grenfell cladding target

Labour MP Meg Hillier in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Images

Labour MP Meg Hillier in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Images - Credit: PA

A Hackney MP has slammed the government for “failing” in its goal to remove all dangerous Grenfell Tower cladding and “condemning” residents to “lives of stress and fear”.

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier made the comments following a report released today by the Public Accounts Committee, of which she is chair, about the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The 2017 tragedy was exacerbated by aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, and resulted in the deaths of 72 people.

The Progress in Remediating Dangerous Cladding report said only a third -155 of 455 - of high-rise buildings wrapped in Grenfell-style flammable cladding have been redecorated.

READ MORE: NHS heroes stuck in cladding ‘bureaucratic nightmare’, Mayor tells MPsAn initial target for all ACM cladding to be replaced by June 2020 has been missed; the new target is by the end of 2021.

Ms Hillier said: “Thousands of residents in Hackney and across the UK have been condemned to lives of stress and fear in unsaleable homes with life-changing bills: for the works and for the fire-watch that is necessary to allow them to sleep at night until it is done.”

The report says although £600 million has been made available for works on buildings above 18 metres, by April 2020 only £134 million of this had been paid out.

In March 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a further £1 billion to replace other forms of cladding on high-rises, but it estimates this will only meet about a third of the cost.

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There are no plans to fund replacement cladding for buildings smaller than 18 metres.

The report says the government has “no knowledge” if any of the 40,000 care homes, sheltered housing and hospitals below 18 metres high are clad in unsafe material, despite those residents facing greater mobility issues during a fire.

Ms Hillier added: “The deadly legacy of a shoddy buildings regulation system has been devastating for the victims and survivors of Grenfell but is leaving a long tail of misery and uncertainty for those whose lives are in limbo.

“The government must take on board our recommendations and outline the specific steps and measures it will take to provide greater transparency for residents throughout the application and remediation process.”