UK Labour conference motion for cladding scandal

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UK Labour conference motion to fight cladding scandal news

27 Sep 2021

UK Labour conference agrees motion to fight cladding scandal

26th September 2021 – The UK Labour Party has backed action in relation to the building safety crisis that has arisen since Grenfell, calling for “sustained investment” in public services that could help resolve the crisis and prevent it continuing in new buildings.

UK Labour conference motion to fight cladding scandal agreed

The party took the step through the passing of a motion at its conference today. The motion calls for “more sustained investment in local authority building control, in fire service fire safety teams, fire inspectors and in other public agencies required to ensure building safety”, and opposes “privatisation, deregulation and contracting out” of these services. These services will help detect building safety issues in existing buildings and help prevent them arising in future buildings.

In the Labour conference debate on the motion Rosa Crowley-Bennett, a serving firefighter and Fire Brigades Union member, said “One story that stays with me is from my old station area in Moss Side, Manchester. My crew and I were carrying out a high rise building visit after the Grenfell Tower Fire. We were knocking on doors and providing safety advice to residents. One resident on the 5th floor told me that she had become so terrified of the fire risk and apparent lack of progress to address this, that she had bought a rope ladder which she planned to use to escape from a window in the event of a fire”.

Grenfell Tower building in West London:
Grenfell Tower London cladding UK facade

The motion states that there “remains a deep, unresolved crisis in building safety”, and notes that hundreds of thousands are “trapped” in unsafe buildings, with “tenants and leaseholders expected to pay the price” for the crisis.

The motion also recognises that “four years on from the Grenfell Tower fire, there is still no justice for the bereaved, survivors and residents”, says that the party “stands in solidarity with the firefighters who attended” the fire, and backs cladding campaigners.

The motion was brought to Labour Party conference by the Fire Brigades Union.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said that:
“People up and down the country are stuck in homes, schools and offices which are death traps. To say that is unacceptable is a huge understatement, and we are glad that the Labour Party has come together and backed action that will help resolve this situation.

“More than four years after the fire, the courage and strength of the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell as they fight for justice and safer buildings is clear to all of us. We at the FBU stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their fight.”

Rosa Crowley-Bennett, a serving firefighter and member of the Fire Brigades Union, said in her speech to conference proposing the motion:
“On the 14th June 2017 the fire at Grenfell Tower claimed the lives of 72 people. It devastated a close-knit, working class community in the heart of London. My colleagues in London worked tirelessly in impossible conditions in the face of an unprecedented fire.

“This tragedy also marked the beginning of a national scandal which still continues to unfold in front of our eyes.

“In all the discussion of regulation and legislation, we must never forget that this debate is about real people, with real fears, suffering grave injustices in what should be one of the most basic of rights: the right to a decent and safe home.”

The building safety crisis

• In the years following the Grenfell crisis it has become clear that many buildings across the country are unsafe in relation to fire safety, with issues including flammable cladding, issues with building cavities, and issues with escape routes.

• This crisis has had two main impacts, with homes, schools and offices continuing to be unsafe and some homeowners facing potential costs of tens of thousands of pounds to remedy the issues.

• The government has committed around £5 billion to go towards fixing the crisis. But there are limitations around this money, including limited availability for social housing providers and the fact that the fund is only meant for cladding. Moreover, the Housing, Communities and Local Government has estimated that the crisis will cost £15 billion to fix – and that’s just for residential buildings alone.

UK Labour conference motion to fight cladding scandal

UK Labour conference motion for cladding scandal in full:

Labour conference Emergency Motion

Grenfell Tower fire: hold ministers and contractors to account

Conference notes that more than four years after the Grenfell Tower disaster there remains a deep, unresolved crisis in building safety, trapping hundreds of thousands in unsafe buildings, with tenants and leaseholders expected to pay the price for rectifying safety problems caused by building owners, developers and contractors.

On 14 September, the Building Safety Bill committee heard witnesses arguing to continue with the deregulated, privatised regime, which undermined local authority building control and fire inspectors.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which resumed on 20 September, is reaching a critical stage. Four years on from the Grenfell Tower fire, there is still no justice for the bereaved, survivors and residents.

Conference supports tenants and residents campaigning for remedy as a result of the cladding scandal.

Conference commends the work of Labour’s shadow team and Labour MPs scrutinising the government’s Fire Safety Act and Building Safety Bill, to ensure the public are protected by building safety regulation.

Conference stands in solidarity with the firefighters who attended the Grenfell Tower fire.

Conference supports the work of the FBU and other core participants representing the bereaved, survivors and residents in the Inquiry, who are fighting for politicians and contractors to be held to account for the cladding and other safety breaches.

Conference resolves to campaign for more sustained investment in local authority building control, in fire service fire safety teams, fire inspectors and in other public agencies required to ensure building safety.

Conference further resolves to oppose privatisation, deregulation and contracting out of such services.

https://labour.org.uk/conference/annual-conference-2021/ – UK Labour conference motion for cladding scandal information received from the Fire Brigades Union UK

Fire Brigades Union, Bradley House 68, Coombe Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 7AE, United Kingdom

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