Urgent call for clarity on how £58m to replace Grenfell-style cladding has been spent

Janet Finch-Saunders MS, the Welsh Conservative spokesperson on Building Regulations, has called for immediate clarification on how some £58 million the Welsh Labour-led Government has received from the UK Government to help homeowners and leaseholders pay for remedial work to high-rise buildings with cladding has been spent.

Mrs Finch-Saunders, who is also Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy, and Rural Affairs, has also demanded to know whether leaseholders and homeowners will be compensated for remedial work, as happens in England.

She wrote to the Housing Minister asking for a detailed explanation, but the response fails to clear up the matter.

The Housing Minister responded:

“Money received as consequential from the UK Budget is not ring fenced to be spent for the same purpose in Wales. Once the consequential is received it is for Welsh Ministers to decide how this money is spent. At that time Welsh Ministers were taking very difficult decisions about how money would be spent in Wales in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. However, we are now in a position to consider how any funding might work and which defects it might cover.”

Mrs Finch-Saunders said:

“This is completely unacceptable. Conservative Members have received emails or telephone calls from owners of flats in high-rise buildings who are desperate, tearful, afraid, and unable to sell their properties because of the costs they must bear to have the cladding removed and replaced.

“It seems that the money has not been spent on helping with the costs of remedial work, and that there is no guarantee that it will be.

“Frankly, it’s a kick in the teeth for hundreds of people in Wales who are being treated unfairly compared to those in similar circumstances in England.

“The Minister must come clean and clarify the situation, and release the money for these vital remedial works immediately.”