London – British Government announced on Wednesday Billions of dollars in additional funding to support people Living in apartment blocks in flammable materials Those who bear the costs of rescue operations and security patrols.
Robert Genrich, the British Housing Secretary, described the “unprecedented intervention” in Parliament as a deadly attack on buildings in England following the use of such dangerous cladding. Grenfell Tower explosion In 2017.
The plan includes an expansion of the existing Building Safety Fund for property owners of £ 5 billion or $ 6.9 billion in high-rise buildings, as well as new taxes on developers and low-interest loans to leaseholders in high-rise buildings. .
“Generic said the Grenfell Tower tragedy is with us and demands action.” “It is therefore fitting that we address security issues where they exist and are life-threatening, but do so in a proportionate manner.”
Housing experts in Britain and those affected by unsafe construction practices say the government has greatly underestimated the impact on leaseholders and new measures do not go too far. The funding only addresses specific high-rise buildings, neglects fire problems other than cladding and can potentially get stuck in steep debts.
“The government promised us that no leaseholder would pay to make their homes safe,” said Paul Afshar, 37, a campaigner with the activist group End Our Cladding Scandal that has been unable to sell its apartment Because it can contain combustible material. . “Today we feel betrayed.”
Opposition politicians, as well as some members of the Conservative Party, have criticized very insignificant measures to address broader fire safety issues. Most private apartments in England are sold as long-term leases, to be owned by a “freeholder” themselves, often an investment group. Residents have struggled to hold building owners accountable for the use of hazardous materials, and the cost of the work required to make the buildings safe is often passed on to leaseholders.
“Today’s announcement is too late,” said Labor Party housing secretary Thangam Debonoire. She called the proposed measures “piecemeal solutions”.
Conservative legalist Stephen McPartland said that he had heard the announcement with the head in his hands, and said that The new measures did not detect fire safety defects that were unrelated to cladding, costly fire patrols, or insurance premiums.
“This is a betrayal of millions of leaseholders,” Mr. McPartland wrote in a post On twitter “It is not good enough.”
This announcement is testimony for the first time this week in an investigation by cladding manufacturers Grenfell Tower disaster 72 people died when a fire broke out from a tall building in central London. A sales executive at Arconic, a cladding company on the Grenfell Tower, admitted that he knew the product was flammable.
Was wrapped in the Grenfell Tower Combustible aluminum composite material, Or ACM, on its outer side, which detected the spreading spread of the explosion, investigators found. The disaster was the catalyst for a re-investigation of the wider cladding issue in the country, but the security issue caused decades of inertia in England. Liberal construction rules Often prioritized cost over security.
The testimony is a small step towards accountability, sought by the families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, but the issues go much deeper. Karim Musili, whose uncle Hashem Rahman died in the fire, said his family’s pain was compounded by government inaction and corporate neglect.
“In a way it almost feels like we’re not able to move forward until something changes, because you know that our families died in the most horrific and terrible way,” he said. “But their deaths are still alive today.”
He said the regulation of the country needed to draw “a line in the sand”. Regulation issues exposed by the fire are wavering, saying they felt that corporations, developers involved in manufacturing products, and the government should be held accountable.
“Grenfell was not a strange accident, and people need to stop thinking that it was,” he said. “Grenfell was unavoidable.”
After the fire, the government vowed to change building safety measures, prioritizing the removal of ACM cladding in buildings over 18 meters or nearly 60 feet. After about four years, Dozens of buildings in England are still wrapped in that material Wrapped in even more flammable products.
It is believed that 200,000 high-rise apartments are in blocks that are wrapped in some kind of flammable material, According to The Times of London. The ACM cladding used in Grenfell can also be found in medium- and low-rise buildings that are not a government priority for demonetization. Labor party Last week called for the National Security Force to deal with broader security issues, and it is estimated that the crisis could affect 4.6 million properties.
But the issue is not just about security; It is also about finance. Thousands are living in potentially dangerous apartments now unable to sell, with banks reluctant to offer mortgages on properties that may have combustible material. In buildings where unsafe material has been identified but not taken down, the leaseholders are paying Costly fire patrol, Although the government has offered another relief program to compensate for some of those costs.
In some cases the cost of demonetization work has also been passed on with leaseholders, and rising insurance and maintenance costs have destabilized the situation.
A survey of homeowners affected by the cladding issue Operated by Inside Housing, A British trade publication, showed ahead of the government’s announcement on Wednesday that 62.5 per cent of those polled faced bills totaling more than £ 30,000, which had to be paid for corrective costs and 15.4 per cent over £ 100,000. K. Bill faced. One in six were locating bankruptcy.
Even as the government started making efforts to resolve the issue, people across the country are still facing decline.
They include Deepa Mistry-Longley and her husband Gregory Longley, who shared ownership of a London apartment with their three children. They own 75 percent of the apartments, and a housing association owns the rest.
The same dangerous cladding found in the Grenfell Tower was identified and fixed on their building, but they still face high insurance premiums and maintenance costs.
Both lost their main income during the epidemic, which had been going on for months, but the possibility of other fire safety issues in the building meant that no lender would mortgage the prospective buyer. So they are stuck with cost.
“Eventually, we’ll run out of money and then we’ll go bankrupt,” Ms. Mistry-Longley said, before the government’s announcement.
Mr Longley said: “We are right on the knife edge.”