'I'm living in hell,' paralysed man trapped in home by £100k cladding bill

A paralysed man says he is living like a prisoner in a Croydon flat that is unsellable because it has failed Grenfell safety standards.

Anthony Kerrane's home in Cygnus Court became unsuitable after he began to use a wheelchair in 2018 following a cycling accident and his girlfriend, who cared for him, died suddenly last year.

His housing association Optivo then handed him a £100,000 “Grenfell bill”, making his flat worthless.

The lifts in Cygnus Court don't work, the 48-year-old told ITV News London.

"I gave up quite a while ago," the former bus driver told ITV News reporter Rags Martel. "Now I think I'm going to be here forever. Stuck on the first floor with a lift that doesn't work."

"I’d rather live in prison," he said. "At least there someone would help you out, you've got someone to talk to. I know that sounds a daft statement but I am in prison aren't I? Living in hell."

"Mr Kerrane's case is another clear example of the difficult situations leaseholders find themselves in due to the ongoing national uncertainty on fire safety," an Optivo spokesperson said.

An estimated one million people are trapped in homes they can't sell because of fire safety issues.

On Monday, Housing Secretary Michael Gove said he wants to review plans to give leaseholders loans to pay for dangerous cladding to be replaced on their buildings.

He told the Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee that he wanted to “pause” plans announced earlier this year and see if the loans were “a necessary way” of dealing with fire safety issues.

He said: “I’m still unhappy with the principle of leaseholders having to pay at all, no matter how effective a scheme might be in capping their costs or not hitting them too hard at any one time. My questions is why do they have to pay at all?”

Mr Kerrance said the government should "pay the bill and talk about it afterwards".

"This case is completely unacceptable," said a spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up. "We are looking afresh at the issues faced by leaseholders to make sure everything is being done to protect and support them."