'We're trapped in our unsafe homes' say victims of cladding scandal in Milton Keynes

Many have joined forces with a national group to write to secretary of state for housing, Michael Gove
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Thousands of people in MK affected by the cladding scandal say they are trapped in their “unsafe” homes because nothing has been done to rectify the problem.

A string of high rise residential buildings across the borough, particularly in the city centre, have been deemed unsafe due to the type of cladding that was used when they were built.

The issue is that fire safety standards for cladding have tightened since the Grenfell tower block fire six years ago this month.

As a result, tenants in many high rise blocks in MK are awaiting costly remedial works while owner occupiers are unable to sell.

Today the national End Our Cladding Scandal group has written to secretary of state for housing Michael Gove, urging him to take action.

The letter states: “Six years after Grenfell, and over one year after you changed the law and told MPs and the public that leaseholders were now protected, hardly anything has changed on the ground.

"Our recent survey has only confirmed that the vast majority of us are still trapped in unsafe homes, still unable to sell, still without any clue when this nightmare will end. We are still going to have to pay to fix issues we didn’t create and some people, who have been horribly labelled as ‘non-qualifying’ leaseholders, face ruinous bills because the Government has decided some leaseholders are more innocent than others.”

It adds: “Nowhere near enough has been done to hold the companies that caused this mess to account despite your promises this would happen. You reset the Government’s approach to building safety in January 2022. Unfortunately, that is not delivering results, and buildings are not being made safe at any discernible pace.

“Our campaign has been fighting for a just and long-lasting solution for over four years, and we have seen some steps forward in that time, but it has all been too slow, and the protections in place are too piecemeal and too complicated. They are only adding to the anxiety and uncertainty we face.

“This crisis has stolen six years of our lives, but we are still here. We will not stop until all leaseholders are protected, and buildings made safe.”

The letter calls on the Government to lead an urgent, national effort to fix the building safety crisis and asks that homes are made safe at the pace residents need and deserve,

“There must be robust, meaningful oversight of the developer contracts; funding from government schemes must match risk; all industry stakeholders must be held to account; there must be clear deadlines for remediation with all buildings having a plan in place by June 2024; and social landlords must have the same access to government funding as the private sector,” it states.

“All leaseholders are 100% innocent and must be protected: Every leaseholder must have equal protection from the cost of fixing building safety defects. We are all blameless and must be treated as such.”