After the Grenfell Tower fire, it was clear that more had to be done to make people’s homes safe.
So far, campaigners, politicians and health and safety experts have been alarmed at the slow progress government has made in making tower blocks safe.
A hollow victory?
In May, after months of campaigning, we had our first breakthrough: the government promised an ‘estimated £400 million’ to fully fund the removal and replacement of cladding on socially owned tower blocks.
While at first we welcomed this news, it was later revealed that this was being taken from the Affordable Homes Programme. This means that during our national housing crisis, fewer affordable homes will be built in the short-term future.
Time to keep the pressure up
This is why we’re still campaigning. The government have created a trade-off, meaning homes will now be made safe, but with fewer drastically-needed affordable homes being built.
As well as this, hundreds of tower blocks across England still have Grenfell-style cladding on them, with only a tiny fraction having their cladding completely replaced. Shockingly, the government have yet to go all the way in completely banning combustible cladding.
How to fix the cladding crisis
The government so far have talked a good game, but now is the time for action.
They are beginning to move in the right direction, and last month Secretary of State James Brokenshire announced £1 million funding to set up a new task force to make sure tower blocks are made safe – but, there is still a huge amount they could do.
To fix the cladding crisis the government must urgently address our three concerns:
- The government must provide £400 million in new cash to pay for the removal and replacement of combustible cladding. The government should not fund essential fire safety work by limiting the essential development of affordable homes – especially in the current housing crisis.
- The government must make good on its intentions to ban combustible cladding. Shelter supporters must continue to make their voices heard, and by working together, we can pressure the government to issue a complete ban on combustible cladding and offer clear guidance on which cladding is safe to use.
- Now is the time for action. The government must commit to a firm deadline for when the removal and replacement of cladding needs to be complete. In doing so they can demonstrate their commitment to making hundreds of homes safe as soon as possible.
What you can do
When Shelter supporters come together we make change happen. In May the government listened to our demands and provided more cash to remove and replace cladding, but they haven’t gone nearly far enough.
By adding your name to our petition, you are joining thousands of other Shelter supporters in demanding the government bans combustible cladding, provides new cash to remove and replace unsafe cladding, and sets a deadline for when the work needs to be completed.
If you go one step further and share this petition with your friends and family we have an even more powerful voice. Together we can tell the government, enough is enough. As you read this, the government are consulting on whether combustible cladding should be banned – keep the pressure up, sign and share our petition.
Photo credit: By PaulSHird (https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhird/35374233943)