Thank you for contacting me about the Fire Safety Bill.
The fire at Grenfell was a tragedy and we owe it to the victims to make sure it never happens again. I fully realise that people are eager to see changes to fire safety legislation – as am I – and for these reforms to happen quickly.
I have been following this important legislation and I am aware of the amendment to the Bill by the House of Lords prohibiting the passing of remediation costs on to leaseholders and tenants. I entirely support the intention of the amendment to protect leaseholders. However, for a number of reasons I do not support the amendment itself.
Most importantly, this Bill is not the correct place for remediation costs to be addressed. The Government has already committed that it will provide an update regarding remediation costs before the Building Safety Bill returns to Parliament. In addition, work is currently underway with leaseholders and the financial sector to identify financing solutions that protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs while ensuring that the cost does not fall entirely on taxpayers. I hope we can agree that it is important not to interrupt these discussions. Therefore, I fear this particular amendment could lead to unnecessary confusion.
It is the Government's clearly stated intention to follow through on the recommendations of phase one of the Grenfell fire inquiry and this Bill is part of that process.
The Fire Safety Bill sets the foundation for implementing the recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which we all want to see set in law. I am glad that the Bill has now progressed in Parliament, paving the way for more accountability from building owners and enforcement from fire and rescue authorities to hold irresponsible owners to account. I attach a link to Chris Pincher’s statement on leaseholders cladding which you may find of interest: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-11-24/debates/7B3B749F-B2E9-4222-AD7D-58BD2DDA13F4/LeaseholdersAndCladding#contribution-F1A18E16-3890-4139-8603-8662E285200B
I am determined to see the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations implemented swiftly and without delay and I will continue to raise concerns from my constituents in Parliament at every opportunity.