Cladding: Just 2% think Government dealing with crisis ‘very well’ - calls for more action

The YouGov poll found more than half of respondents, 62%, believe the Government has addressed the issue of flammable cladding badly.
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A cladding campaing group has called on opposition parties to “commit to firm action and full protection for all leaseholders”, following the publication of a damning poll into the Government’s response to the crisis.

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, in which 72 people died after a fire ripped up flammable cladding attached to the block’s exterior, the Government began investigating building safety issues across England.

Several funds have since been drawn up as a result of that work to pay for the removal of defective cladding from homes, though only for buildings of 11m or taller.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) says those below that height are less at-risk, and so are unlikely to require expensive remedial works.

The Government has also taken steps to force developers to pay for any necessary works, by obliging them to sign up to a contract to fix unsafe buildings. Housing Secretary Michael Gove earlier this year further promised that no leaseholder living in their flat will have to pay to replace flammable cladding, though campaigners have cast doubt on this claim.

Nevertheless, the Government’s approach has continued to come under heavy criticism from residents who remain stuck living in dangerous buildings.

LondonWorld recently reported on leaseholders living in a series of east London blocks which do not qualify for the support, due to being under 11m, despite at least two knowing they are covered in dodgy cladding, and so are concerned they may end up having to fork out thousands of pounds to remediate their homes.

Some of the affected blocks on the Kings Park estate, Harold Wood, Havering. Credit: Steve Bulkan.Some of the affected blocks on the Kings Park estate, Harold Wood, Havering. Credit: Steve Bulkan.
Some of the affected blocks on the Kings Park estate, Harold Wood, Havering. Credit: Steve Bulkan.

Other issues faced by residents include having to wait for all legal avenues to be exhausted before Government funding to replace the cladding can be secured.

One leaseholder told LondonWorld they are in the midst of “a protracted legal discussion among the developers and the owners”, resulting in delays to remediation works and preventing them from selling their flat.

In a recent YouGov poll, published on the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, 2,998 British adults were asked how well or badly the Government has addressed the issues surrounding flammable cladding in tall buildings.

More than half, 62%, said they believe it has gone badly, 35% of whom responded ‘very badly’, the most of all responses.

Just 14% said the Government has done well, 2% ‘very well’ and 12% ‘fairly well’, while 23% said they ‘don’t know.

In terms of political stances, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters were more likely than Conservatives to believe the crisis has been badly addressed, with 80% and 71% of respondents.

However, a majority, 54%, of Conservative voters stated they believe the Government has either done ‘fairly badly’ or ‘very badly’, indicating cross-party dismay at the response.

Giles Grover, co-lead of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign group, said: “The only surprising thing about this survey is that as many as 2% of respondents believe the Government has done very well in addressing the ongoing issues that still blight the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the country, who remain trapped in unsafe buildings.

“Drilling into the results, we note that over half of Conservative voters think the Government has done fairly or very badly – Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak know deep down that they need to do much more to bring about a comprehensive end to this crisis.

“Ahead of the next general election, as manifestos begin to be drawn up, we must also now see the opposition parties commit to firm action and full protection for all leaseholders.”

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for anyone to have to live in an unsafe building and residents safety and wellbeing should always be the utmost priority.

“Building owners and developers must act quickly to fix any dangerous defects so residents can finally get on with their lives.

“We have been clear that those responsible must pay to end the crisis. All developers who have signed the developer remediation contract now have a legal duty to get on with remediation. We are monitoring their progress very closely to ensure this work is completed urgently and safely, and, if it is not, we will act accordingly.”