Ministers warned work to remove cladding could take ‘up to 39 years'

Grenfell Tower in west London

Ministers have been warned that work to remove unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings could take “up to 39 years” to complete at the current pace.

Work has been undertaken to remove ACM cladding from buildings across the country following the Grenfell disaster three years ago when 72 people were killed after a fire broke out in the early hours of June 14 2017.

However, Labour has now urged the Government to pick up the pace on the removal of the material on high-rise buildings to ensure the work is completed more quickly.

Raising the issue in the Commons following the third anniversary of the disaster, shadow housing minister Mike Amesbury said:

Three years on from the Grenfell disaster when 72 people tragically lost their lives, 245 buildings are cladded in dangerous ACM, and at least 1,700 are cladded in equally flammable material. If the remedial work continues at the same snail’s pace, it will take up to 39 years for the work to be completed.

Mike Amesbury, Shadow Housing Minister

Making reference to the approval of a major property scheme involving a Tory party donor by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, Mr Amesbury added:

If you want a controversial billion pound planning application approved, it seems that high value chicken dinner get things done. Can (Housing minister Chris Pincher) advise the House what influence can be applied to quickly make all our high rise buildings safe once and for all?

Mike Amesbury, Shadow Housing Minister

Mr Pincher responded:

I think (Mr Amesbury) is being rather ungenerous. We have made £1.6 billion available to remediate those buildings that need it. 95% of all social sector buildings that had unsafe ACM cladding on them have begun their remediation or have completed it. 40% of private sector such buildings have begun their remediation or have completed it, the other 60% have their plans in train. We want these buildings to be made safe as quickly as possible. That is why we’ve put the money on the table, that is why we will press for action to be taken, that is why these buildings will be made safe under this government.

Chris Pincher, Housing Minister