Labour Government still missing in action weeks after Gove cladding announcement
The Labour Government in Cardiff Bay has failed to announce a strategy to fix dangerous cladding on lower-rise buildings in Wales two and a half weeks since the British Government said it would by securing £4bn from developers to do that in England.
Michael Gove MP, Levelling Up and Housing Secretary, wrote to firms, giving them until March to agree a plan to protect leaseholders trapped in “unsellable homes”, saying some companies had shown leadership and covered costs but others “had not shouldered their responsibilities”.
Gove stated in his letter: “It is neither fair nor decent that innocent leaseholders, many of whom have worked hard and made sacrifices to get a foot on the housing ladder, should be landed with bills they cannot afford to fix problems they did not cause”.
The Labour Government has consistently maintained it would not use its own powers to act until the British Government took the lead. Seventeen days since the Conservatives said they had written to firms, there have been no plans announced in Wales to follow suit or pursue a different strategy.
The glaring lack of action has been highlighted by the Celestia Action Group, “owners of Redrow properties in Cardiff Bay fighting to get them to put right their serious building defects”.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Housing, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, said:
“While the British Government has taken bold, decisive action in telling developers to put right serious defects in people’s homes or face the consequences, Labour in Wales continues to prevaricate, despite £60m coming from the UK Treasury to help homeowners and leaseholders.
“The Minister may have announced a pot of money to buy these flats off struggling owners, but this forces people to sell up so the Minister becomes the landlord of Wales’ most dangerous flats.
“Meanwhile, the move lets developers off the hook as they know government will bail them out. Without holding accountable those who put up the cladding, the taxpayer ends up footing the bill.
“The Labour Government have got to get a grip on this scandal before it earns the fury of scared and stressed residents for failing to act when all sides should be acting in concert to challenge those at fault – developers who fail to recognise their own culpability.”