Greater Manchester mayors and residents lobby government

Greater Manchester mayors and residents lobby government

GREATER MANCHESTER and Salford’s mayors have called on the government to ‘take immediate action to support high rise residents living in unsafe buildings’, alongside residents’ groups.

In a press release from Salford City Council, the city’s mayor Paul Dennett and Greater Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham announced their call for the government to ‘take immediate action’ to help support high rise residents living in ‘unsafe buildings’, referencing the 2017 formation of the Greater Manchester High Rise Task Force post Grenfell, and the regular residents forums that ‘hear from the people living in high rise buildings across the city-region’.

Having heard the ‘growing concerns’ of such residents in the region, Mr Burnham and Mr Dennett said they are ‘taking this issue to parliament’ ahead of the government’s new budget on 11 March, so as to make sure that ‘the voices of affected residents are heard by those with the power to change the law and fix what is an industrial scale regulatory crisis within the UK’.

Both mayors, and residents and activists from Manchester and London, will gather outside Westminster on 25 February, with the intent to ‘highlight the human impact of the ongoing crisis’ and ‘give those present an opportunity to share their experiences and concerns’. This lobby will also call on the government to ‘do more to support those living in negative equity and in potentially dangerous high rise buildings’, not only in Manchester ‘but across the country’.

Ahead of the lobby, the task force will release the Greater Manchester High Rise Residents Report, after a survey undertaken with residents last year that provides ‘new insights into the fire safety concerns and financial burdens faced by residents’, while also ‘demonstrating the severity of the issues residents continue to deal with’.

Residents campaign group Manchester Cladiators will also attend and ‘highlight the post-Grenfell plight of many living in high rise buildings’, and stated: ‘The current situation for leaseholders is dire – we are trapped in potentially dangerous buildings, facing huge life changing bills from building owners while living in flats we cannot sell. It is having a significant and very real impact on our mental health.

‘Some residents are facing financially crippling costs of up to £80,000 just to make their homes safe, when it should not be residents who pick up the bill. We came together as Manchester Cladiators to support each other and to lobby the only party that can make this change happen - Government. We have been inundated with requests for help from other northern towns and cities and last week we have grown to establish Northern Cladiators to provide a larger voice for the north.

‘This issue is growing and the impact is becoming harder to bear for leaseholders. This is why we are attending the event in Westminster next week, which is a significant opportunity to ensure our experiences are heard far and wide – because this crisis is a national crisis. There are high rise buildings just like ours right across the UK.

‘The government’s response since Grenfell has been far too slow and they need to be told that we will continue our fight until at the very least a no-strings attached building safety fund is made available to all high rise leaseholders to make our homes safe at no cost to residents.’

Mr Burnham commented: ‘The Government needs to take action in the forthcoming Budget. They are living a nightmare at the moment and should not be left in this limbo a moment longer. Every week that the Government fails to act is a week where many will face another bill that they can’t afford. This is why we are holding a lobby of Parliament on 25 February.

‘Our residents’ lives are being ruined through no fault of their own. The Government need to hear their experiences and concerns and support residents by making a package of financial and mental health support available.’

Mr Dennett added: ‘Over two years on from the Grenfell Tower fire, Greater Manchester still has 78 buildings that have adopted interim measures because of significant fire safety deficiencies. It is wholly unacceptable that residents are still left ‘trapped’, many are unable to sell, insure or re-mortgage their homes and are faced with bankrupting bills just to make their homes safe from fire.

‘The Government must own their rhetoric, they said residents and leaseholders shouldn’t be paying for the remediation of their buildings yet they continue to do so. This is a regulatory crisis on an industrial scale of which residents continue to pay the price.’