Sir Mike Penning, Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead, spoke in the House of Commons yesterday in a debate on the Building Safety Bill.
Sir Mike called on the Government to use this Bill to address the problems facing all leaseholders who have had to pay for additional fire safety measures, irrespective of whether these are cladding-related.
Sir Mike told MPs: “Thousands of my leaseholders are trapped within their properties. Thousands of them have already paid unbelievably large amounts of money which they cannot afford, and even if they could afford to pay it is morally wrong in the first place.
“I want to get this right for leaseholders. I was promised the previous Bill was not the answer. This has to be the answer to put things right.”
Speaking afterwards, Sir Mike said: “My view is that leaseholders should not pay anything towards the cost of remedying historical building fire safety defects. The leaseholders have done nothing wrong.
“There have been errors at many levels, but the leaseholders are not responsible for any of them. There have been errors at design, construction, materials, building standards supervision, fire safety inspections, legal – a whole host of areas, but none of these are the leaseholders’ fault.
“The Government persuaded me that the Fire Safety Bill last year was not the place to do it, but this Bill most definitely is. Local leaseholders were understandably frustrated, and I took a lot of flak for backing down then, but we cannot let this go on any longer.
“We’ve faced similar impossible situations before and found a way through, I believe we can do so again. Mesothelioma compensation was one such case.
“I hope to get onto the Bill Committee, but if not, I will join any group supporting leaseholders in the Report Stage. Leaseholders have been put in an impossible position on fire safety costs – irrespective of whether these costs are cladding-related. We must right these wrongs.”