Hundreds of leaseholders living in unsellable flats will continue to face fire safety bills of tens of thousands of pounds after Milton Keynes’ two Conservative MPs voted against measures to stop building owners passing on the costs of safety works.
The potential bills are a result of owners having to make buildings safe in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster for costs associated with removing cladding and replacing internal wall insulation. The Government has established a fund to replace cladding, but it will only help those in buildings over 18 metres in height and does not include work other than cladding. Campaigners have also complained the support scheme is too slow in getting funds to landlords.
Amendments to the Fire Safety Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, would have seen building owners banned from passing on costs to leaseholders. Despite a rebellion by some Conservative MPs, “Greedy” Ben Everitt (Milton Keynes North) and “Invisible” Iain Stewart voted against the measures.
Only two weeks ago Greedy Ben and MK Conservatives promised campaigners from the Milton Keynes “End the Cladding Scandal Now” group of residents living in MK buildings such as the Hub that they would support the cause.
MK Labour have also contrasted the lack of Government action on the scandal with the £2800 a month claimed by Greedy Ben Everitt for a second home and the crisis facing the Prime Minister for spending tens of thousands of pounds refurbishing his Downing Street flat and have vowed to continue to fight to help residents.
Ben Nolan, Labour Candidate in Central Milton Keynes, said: “It is a disgrace that despite only weeks ago promising to do all they can for residents MK Conservative MPs “Greedy” Ben Everitt and “Invisible” Iain Stewart voted against measures that would have helped trapped leaseholders from facing huge fire safety bills.”
He continued: “We have had dozens of emails and local Labour councillors have attended public meetings in CMK with flat owners who through no fault of their own, as leaseholders, face massive bills to replace cladding and other fire safety works. Their pain and worry is real. While there is a government scheme to help people in tall buildings, it won’t help many people here in MK, it doesn’t help with costs such as replacing internal insulation or replacing cavity walls and it is far too slow.”
He concluded: “I think people will be shocked that while Greedy Ben Everitt is happy to claim £2800 a month of taxpayers money on a second home and the Prime Minister is willing to spend tens of thousands of pounds on a murky refurbishment of his flat, they refuse to help desperate leaseholders. The Labour Party have vowed to continue to fight for residents and I call on our MPs to listen.”