Photograph of The Cube student accommodation in Bolton, surrounded by scaffolding
Photograph of The Cube student accommodation in Bolton, surrounded by scaffolding

We are now four years on from the absolute tragedy that befell Grenfell Tower and, ultimately, little to nothing has been done to support those trapped in properties with dangerous cladding, all whom have exorbitant costs to keep up with.

Let’s be clear – this is yet another governmental failing on behalf of leaseholders of The Cube in Bolton, and the rest of the United Kingdom.

People are told that the Conservatives are the ‘party of home ownership’,  yet have failed to support home owners at every turn throughout this scandal.

There are numerous accounts of individuals having to declare bankruptcy as a result of the UK Government’s mishandling of the leasehold crisis, and it is frankly unacceptable that people have worked hard to save, and are now being billed for the failings of property developers.

And how has the Government responded to this crisis?  Let us consider this quickly.

Across the board, it was slow to react and has failed to implement the recommendations of the Grenfell report.  There is a clear lack of political will to resolve this issue.

More recently, on Thursday 29 April, Parliament was prorogued, and the current legislative session came to an end, and with it, the Fire Safety Bill has gained royal assent and will become law.

Despite cross-party efforts to resolve this scandal, the Lords amendment failed and the Bill passed in its current, watered-down form, and provides little in the way of relief for campaigners and victims.

Personally speaking, I was proud to vote with the Lords amendment to ensure that leaseholders were protected against the costs of works – despite it ultimately failing.

Although there was a large Government rebellion, not enough members from the Conservative party supported the move and the Bill passed.

The new legislation means that homeowners are still potentially liable for post-Grenfell safety costs that could run into the tens of billions of pounds, which is an absolute disgrace.

MPs have calculated that the total bill could reach as high as £15bn, yet have set aside just a third of that.

What’s more, this funding has a range of stipulations that mean buildings like The Cube in Bolton, just slightly under 18 metres, do not even qualify for support.  Regarding those buildings under 18 metres (an arbitrarily agreed-upon figure), loans are available, which do nothing to alleviate the financial burden.

I will continue to do what I can to raise awareness, inside and outside of Parliament, of the plight of leaseholders for as long as I am your representative.

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