United Kingdom

Tories on verge of revolt over failure to fix cladding scandal in wake of Grenfell tragedy

The failure to fix the cladding scandal which has left hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing bankruptcy and unable to sell up has led to a revolt by Tory MPs against the Government.

Leaseholders are facing bills of up to £115,000 each to remove dangerous cladding, similar to that responsible for the Grenfell fire.

Meanwhile, lenders have been refusing to offer mortgages on properties until they are declared safe, leaving families stuck in fire traps.

Ministers now face a rebellion from their own party after MPs accused them of failing to protect homeowners. Tory MPs Stephen McPartland and Royston Smith have written to their backbench colleagues attacking the Government's 'sticking plaster' solutions.

Leaseholders are facing bills of up to £115,000 each to remove dangerous cladding, similar to that responsible for the Grenfell fire

The pair aim to build support for solutions that will stop leaseholders from paying out. Mr McPartland said of Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick: 'He needs to get out of his ivory tower, stop talking and start actually helping the millions of leaseholders being left behind.'

Their intervention follows a damning report published yesterday by a parliamentary committee which said it was 'unacceptable and an abdication of responsibility on the part of Government' that leaseholders were still liable for costs.

It criticised clauses in the Government's Building Safety Bill, which aims to improve building safety, that allows leaseholders to be charged for repairs.

Meanwhile, lenders have been refusing to offer mortgages on properties until they are declared safe, leaving families stuck in fire traps

It added: 'Quite simply, no one besides the Government thinks the leaseholders should pay.'

Rules introduced in the wake of the Grenfell fire in 2017 mean homeowners require a form to prove their building is free of dangerous cladding if they want to sell or remortgage. But some have been told they may have to wait up to ten years to get one, with around two million people in England thought to be affected and thousands more in Scotland and Wales.

A Government spokesman said: 'We are looking at developing affordable solutions where needed.' 

Around 30,000 sales are already thought to have collapsed due to the issue and experts have warned it could paralyse the housing market.

The Government has set aside £1.6 billion to fund repair works, but MPs estimate the total cost will be £15 billion.

Last week Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government would ‘try to make it as affordable as possible for leaseholders’.

It appeared to contradict comments made by housing minister Christopher Pincher, who just 24 hours earlier told MPs that the Government did not expect ‘leaseholders to bear the costs of remediation of unsafe buildings for which they were not responsible’

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