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Residents and campaigners protest outside Housing Ministry over delay in removing flammable cladding

in Westminster

SEVENTY-THREE organisations, unions and MPs put their names to a letter delivered to the government yesterday calling for the removal of flammable cladding.

Campaigners rallied outside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) against nationwide delays to its removal from tower blocks, exactly a year after they delivered a similar letter which received no response.

Labour MP for Kensington Emma Dent Coad helped deliver the letter, initiated by campaign group Fuel Poverty Action (FPA), which calls for removal of Grenfell Tower-style flammable cladding and the improved insulation of homes, especially ones that would be colder owing to their cladding’s removal.

MHCLG has so far refused to meet people affected by the Grenfell fire, which killed 72 people, or the residents of blocks campaigning to get cladding removed, according to FPA.

Tower block resident Graeme Langton condemned his local authority, Salford City Council, for “shilly-shallying” in having delayed the removal of Grenfell-style cladding for two-and-a-half years.

Salford Council leader John Merry had promised work would commence early next year — but no start date has been given, according to Mr Langton.

“The buck stops here,” he said, referring to the council building behind him.

A number of issues relating to fire safety have arisen over the past three fire risk assessments, held every year, that have yet to be sorted out in nine towers on his estate in Pendleton.

The problems pertain to the delay in replacing fire doors and removing cladding.

Residents of the nine tower blocks, including a disabled person who uses a wheelchair living on the 18th floor, are living in “mortal fear” of fire, Mr Langton warned the crowd.

He told the Star he was not optimistic that works would begin as promised.

In a statement, he said: “People’s mental health is being affected by the danger we live with every day.

“The government promised to keep people safe.

“They should now put up the money to reclad our nine tower blocks and sort out the cost with the landlord later.”

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