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Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "Demanding An End To The National Cladding Scandal" - Given by Councillor Paul Wood and to be seconded by Councillor Jim Steinke

That this Council:-

 

(a)      notes it is now over three and half years since the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and yet the Government have failed to get to grips with the scandal of dangerous cladding;

 

(b)      notes that lack of proper action from government over covering the costs has affected Sheffield residents with many having bought their property in good faith, only to face both the immediate cost of having to fund ‘waking watches’, as well as not knowing whether they will one day be confronted by a financially crippling bill from their building owner for remedial works;

 

(c)      believes it would be distressing to see anyone held to ransom in this way at any time, but it is even more concerning given the current economic uncertainty and pandemic, and that whilst all of this hangs over them, owners in these tower blocks have little chance of selling their flats, and it is not hard to imagine the impact this must be having on the mental wellbeing of the individuals affected;

 

(d)      believes it is time for firm action from the Government rather than continued broken promises, to avoid a repeat of the Grenfell Tower tragedy;

 

(e)      believes that government are not providing the support needed to deal with all the safety problems faced in high-rise homes, including those that relate to non-ACM cladding – such as Sheffield buildings like Metis and Wicker Riverside - and that, furthermore, there is no real help for buildings with other safety issues or buildings under 18 metres in height;

 

(f)       believes that this is inexcusable, and that the Government must come forward with proposals for comprehensive remediation for safety issues and all buildings, at no cost to leaseholders;

 

(g)      notes that locally this Administration is fully supporting Sheffield City Council tenants in high-rises and, having checked out all blocks, no further cladding is to be removed, and that all blocks are regularly checked for fire safety protection;

 

(h)      further notes that, as part of the Housing Revenue Account, the Council will invest £500 million into council housing stock over the next five years, including investment in further health and safety measures such as fire safety improvements;

 

(i)       notes, however, that far more needs to be done for those in private blocks and notes that the Leader of the Council has confirmed the Council’s support for the campaign to ‘End Our Cladding Scandal’ which demands that Government leads a national effort to ensure safety in all tower blocks, with the prioritisation of those blocks most at risk;

 

(j)       confirms its backing for Sheffield Cladding Action Group and their calls on the Government to take these 10 steps to end the National Cladding Scandal:-

 

(i)       the Government must lead an urgent national effort to remove all dangerous cladding from buildings by June 2022;

 

(ii)       the Building Safety Fund must cover all buildings, regardless of height, and a range of internal and external fire safety defects, not just cladding;

 

(iii)      the Government should provide the money up front and then seek to recover it from any responsible parties or via a temporary levy on development;

 

(iv)      social housing providers must have full and equal access to the fund;

 

(v)      the Government must compel building owners or managers to be honest with residents about fire safety defects;

 

(vi)      the Government should cover the cost of interim safety measures;

 

(vii)     the Government should act as an insurer of last resort and underwrite insurance where premiums have soared;

 

(viii)    a fairer, faster process is needed to replace the EWS form and funding is necessary to ensure all buildings requiring a form are surveyed within 12 months;

 

(ix)      mental health support must be offered to affected residents; and

 

(x)      protecting residents from historic and future costs must be a key commitment of new building safety legislation; and

 

(k)      commits to putting this motion and the 10 demands directly to Government.