Grenfell Tower Fire: What do the political manifestos say about cladding?

By Rags Martel: ITV News reporter

From Grenfell day one it was clear - flammable cladding spread the fire. Two-and-a-half years on flammable material is still on hundreds of tower blocks.

You would think the deaths of 72 people would turn it into a major political issue.

But the removal of flammable cladding is rarely discussed on the election trail and has yet to come up in any of the leaders debates.

So what do the political manifestos say about cladding?

Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem leaders with their manifestos

The Conservatives promise to implement recommendations of the Grenfell inquiry, and, some what bafflingly, say they will remove unsafe cladding.

To be clear the Tories have failed to do this so far. Removal of this deadly cladding is desperately slow. 30 months after the fire, 318 high-rise buildings are still covered in Grenfell-style cladding in the UK, according to the government latest figures.

The Conservative manifesto goes on to say it'll "support residents with the removal of unsafe cladding".

For Ritu Saha this line form the manifesto is almost laughable. She lives in Northpoint, Bromley, south-east London.

Extract of Conservative manifesto

Her building is deemed so dangerous, it needs a 24-hour Waking Watch to keep its residents safe.

But as months, and now years pass, its expensive and not solving the problem.

Northpoint building in Bromley

"Imagine having to live and sleep in an home that's effectively covered in petrol", says Saha.

Frustrated with the government's inaction, Saha helped form the UK Cladding Action Group.

"Many of us cannot find hundreds of thousands of pounds to make our home safe. Some of us fear we could become homeless. This thought is in our minds every single day", says Saha.

Peter Apps is Deputy Editor of Inside Housing. The magazine has joined forces with the UK Cladding Action Group to end, what they call, 'Britain's cladding scandal'.

As part of Labour's £1 billion 'Fire Safety Fund', the party is promising to fit sprinklers to every tower block. They too talk of magically removing unsafe cladding.

Extract of Labour manifesto

In their manifesto, the Liberal Democrats simply call for "safer homes" but there is no mention of cladding or Grenfell.

Extract of Lib Dem manifesto

But the cladding problem is bigger than first thought. The fire in Barking in June earlier this year showed that timber cladding was dangerous. And this month, the student flats in Bolton, had a different form of flammable cladding to the ACM-type at Grenfell.