Stevenage MP slams government minister's 'shocking incompetence' over cladding plan

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland. Picture: Archant

Stevenage's MP blasted the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government - Credit: Archant

Stevenage's MP has slammed the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government after describing his announcement on cladding as a "betrayal of millions of leaseholders".

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, had announced a five-point, £3.5 billion plan into the removal of unsafe cladding in high rise buildings on Wednesday, February 10.

Billed as the "biggest ever investment in building safety", Mr Jenrick laid out plans to remove unsafe cladding on buildings over 18m and a loan scheme for leaseholders in buildings between 11-18m tall, among other points.

But campaigners, including UK Cladding Action Group, have questioned the effectiveness of the measures and challenged the government to do more.

And Stephen McPartland, a long-time ally of national anti-cladding groups, shared his dismay at the announcement with his Twitter followers.

He said: "I am listening to Robert Jenrick's announcement with my head in my hands, wondering how he can have got this so wrong. It is a betrayal of millions of leaseholders. It is not good enough. It is shocking incompetence. It is clear the PM has to step in now."

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Mr McPartland had already fought to include amendments to the Fire Safety Bill last year. 

And he later added: "The statement from Robert Jenrick is all smoke and mirrors. He is very careful to just state cladding. No mention of fire safety defects, Waking Watches or Excessive Insurance Premiums which are often the main costs for millions of leaseholders."

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Mr Jenrick's office has been contacted to provide a response.

Will, who leads UK Cladding Action Group, was thankful for the support of Stevenage's MP, but implored the government to heed his words.

"We are so thankful to Mr McPartland, and all the other MPs, who have helped raised awareness of this issue.

"He [McPartland] called it out immediately for what it is last Wednesday, and we are grateful for that. It's smoke and mirrors from the government.

"But, the government must do more to protect leaseholders. Wednesday's announcement did not go far enough, and does not cover all of the historic issues that we as leaseholders will have to pay for.

"Our properties can't be sold, and many of us will go bankrupt trying to pay off these long-term debts, that were the fault of developers."

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