The Granada Debate: South Ribble MP warns poor landlords 'This government is coming for you'

An MP has warned poor landlords “this government is coming for you” following the death of a two-year-old who died after being exposed to mould.

Awaab Ishak died after prolonged exposure to the mould in his Rochdale home, which was managed by housing association, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH).

The organisation sacked their Chief Executive Gareth Swarbrick four days after the inquest concluded.

Speaking on Granada Debate in the wake of the inquest Katherine Fletcher, the Conservative MP for South Ribble, said that landlords who do not properly maintain their properties will now be targeted: "Michael Gove has written to all social housing landlords, be that council led or housing groups.

"There are some great ones in my patch. But he's made it absolutely clear this is now going to happen and we are going to give the residents a voice.

"They shouldn't be on their own and there will be a full framework to support them."

"When they can demonstrate they're doing a good job we will help them expand and grow. The message that anyone should be taking away is that if you have mouldy damp housing then this government is coming for you"

Also appearing on the programme, Bootle’s Labour MP Peter Dowd agreed that a message needs to be sent that “it is unacceptable for anybody to have to live in that kind of accommodation”.

During November's edition of Granada Debate the panel discussed a range of topics that have impacted the region during Rishi Sunak’s first month in Downing Street.

On the budget Ms Fletcher said she felt, under the circumstances of the fallout from Covid and war in Ukraine, that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had got his Autumn Statement broadly correct; adding she was pleased to see a commitment to support public services.

Mr Dowd said he welcomed any funding for the NHS, schools and public services but added: “The government was unprepared for some of these shocks and there needs to be a completely different look and thinking about the economy”.

The final discussion topic centered around the use of hotels to house asylum-seekers in the North West while they wait for their claims to be heard. MPs from across the political spectrum have pressed the Home Office to handle the situation better.

Ms Fletcher said using hotels to house people is an "emergency measure" exacerbated by the sheer number of people arriving in the country from overseas.

She went on to say that they must kill the business model of the smuggling gangs helping people cross the Channel.

Mr Dowd highlighted the issue of local authorities not being involved with decision making when it comes to housing asylum-seekers, saying: “The problem we have is there is a Westminster approach to things where they send people where it might be inappropriate for them to go.

"The important thing is that it needs planning better and there hasn’t been that level of planning."

Katherine Fletcher agreed with Peter and said there needs to be community consent before people are housed in an area but she has received assurances that the situation of housing hotels is just a temporary measure.

Speaking ahead of the debate Ewan Roberts from Asylum Link Merseyside said: "One of the better things people could do is give asylum seekers permission to work when they arrive, so they're less of a burden on the state.

"Their mental health is improved by working, their access to language is improved - you can't get access to a language course for six months, and currently the waiting time for a class is one year, so you can be waiting a year and a half before you get access to the language".

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