Hina Bokhari wins London Assembly's support for victims
Cllr Gary Busuttil believes rail infrastructure needs to be upgraded
Locally as a Southfield ward Councillor I have spoken to residents who do not feel safe as tenants in some housing blocks or sone hone owners cannot sell their properties due to a lack of government action.
Regionally, the Mayor of London should boycott developers who have failed to take action on their buildings at risk of fire, the London Assembly said this week after backing a Liberal Democrat motion.
The motion was proposed by new Lib Dem Assembly Member Hina Bokhari and seconded by fellow Lib Dem AM Caroline Pidgeon, calling on Sadiq Khan to use his powers as Mayor to do more to help Londoners who live in the blocks affected by the cladding crisis.
The motion won the backing of Conservative and Green Party AMs, but was not supported by Labour, who abstained.
Hina Bokhari told the meeting that we need to listen to the victims of this crisis and represent their needs.
She added, “Of course the Government needs to do more to comprehensively deal with the building safety crisis, and many of us will keep pushing for this. Yet it is too easy just to call on the Government. We need to look at the levers and powers the Mayor has to ensure far more is done to support those affected by this shameful scandal in London."
With an affordable housing budget of over £4bn the Mayor could send a clear message to developers by refusing to work with those who are yet to take action to remediate fire safety issues in their existing stock. There are numerous other actions the Mayor could take to support leaseholders.
Liberal Democrats say we need the Mayor to take action and not just warm words. As well as lobbying Government he needs to use his powers and levers to their full extent to give practical support to the thousands of Londoners impacted by this terrible scandal.
The motion calls on the Mayor of London to:
● Implement a clear policy of not working with or funding developers or housing associations that have not taken action to support leaseholders in existing stock they own or have built;
● Establishing a fire safety victims support hub, which would provide both mental health and practical advice to leaseholders affected by the cladding and fire safety crisis in London;
● Trial a public fire safety risk assessment register in London for residential properties, like those used for Energy Performance Certificates, so that prospective buyers or renters can see the fire safety rating of any potential home; and
● Take every step to ensure applicants to both the Building Safety Fund and the Waking Watch Relief Fund hear back from the GLA regarding their applications as soon as practicable.
Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper has put forward legislation which would force the government to launch an independent inquiry into its handling of the building safety crisis. The Ten Minute Rule Motion which passed recently in parliament and will move to second reading in September.
It is incomprehensible that four years on from Grenfell we still don’t actually know the scale of the building safety scandal - that’s because this government has no complete data on how many mid-rise buildings below 18m have been built with dangerous materials and fire safety defects. Liberal Democrats want to see action from developers, the government and the Mayor of London.
Anything else and we are leaving tens of thousands of Londoners with a legacy of potentially dangerous buildings and people who cannot trust the places they call home.
Cllr Gary Malcolm – Leader of Liberal Democrats on Ealing Council
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July 8, 2021