Lib Dems call for action over ‘utterly appalling’ cladding scandal
A public meeting was held on Saturday in Swansea Bay to demand action by the Welsh Government on the fire safety scandal.
According to campaigners, people in Swansea affected by the cladding safety scandal are still facing bills of up to £60k each for on their unsellable, fire defective homes, despite over 4.5 years having passed since the Grenfell Disaster.
The Welsh Government has agreed to fund the recladding of social housing, and in December, Climate Change Minister Julie James announced that a scheme aimed at leaseholders who have found themselves in “significant” financial hardship was due to be launched in the new year.
However, many private leaseholders still face both the costs of recladding and interim safety costs themselves which they say places huge financial strain on their families and is having an impact on their mental health.
Saturday’s meeting was organised by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and follows a similar meeting last month in Cardiff. The party are calling on the Welsh Government to introduce a Welsh Building Safety Fund to deal with all fire safety defects as quickly as possible and ensure no tenant or leaseholder is left out of pocket.
Welsh Government was criticised by cladding campaign groups, for not making any official statement following Michael Gove’s announcement in England last week that the UK Government would protect leaseholders with new laws to make industry pay for building safety.
Those suffering because of the scandal were also unhappy the government had refused to meet them but it has now agreed to meet with Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Jane Dodds and some victims to discuss the situation further.
Jane Dodds MS said: “It is utterly appalling that almost five years on from Grenfell we still have people being trapped in unsafe buildings and let down by those in power. People should absolutely not be forced to front the cost for the serious mistakes of property developers.
“The Welsh Government needs to urgently step in and provide funds to fix all fire safety defects as soon as possible. It should then be up to the Government to pursue property developers to claim the money back. We cannot have people living in limbo and unsafe buildings while they try and chase property developers for funds.
“The stories we have heard at this public meeting are really harrowing and the Government urgently needs to engage with those affected and step up to the situation. Some pensioners affected are paying over £500 of their £800 pension out in service charges and repair charges. It is an outrage this has been allowed to continue for so long.
Sam Bennett, the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Waterfront Ward in this year’s local elections added: “I live side by side with people who are affected by this scandal, and I know the appalling toll it takes on their lives – both in financial terms and on mental health. This has dragged on for far too long – it is now time to see action from the Welsh Government.”
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