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Lord Greenhalgh reconfirms Government looking at the Polluter Pays Bill

On the day leaseholders made their voices heard outside the houses of Parliament (16 September 2021), Lord Greenhalgh reconfirmed that they are looking very closely at the proposals put forward by Steve Day and his team, in response to a question by the Bishop of St Albans. There is active dialogue between both parties to address any specific concerns, if there are any, and to come to a fair and just outcome to the Building Safety Crisis. We are convinced it can be done, it should be done and it will be done. We urge each and everyone of you to use your social media accounts to let Government know the Polluter Pays Bill needs to be implemented.

Lord Greenhalgh responding to the Bishop of St Albans
An update from Daniel Greenberg, who is very optimistic we can come to a fair and just outcome to the crisis with the Polluter Pays Bill.
Protest at Parliament today. Our message!

We will be attending the protest at Parliament today (16 September 2021). Come and have a chat, it be great to meet you all. Here is our message to let you know we will continue our quest to get the Polluter Pays in the Building Safety Bill and what it entails. See you soon!

Steve Day his message to the people attending the protest this afternoon.

And as a bonus, not on screen today, but a serious message of support from the Earl of Lytton, who we can’t thank enough for his support and input.

Thank you to the Earl of Lytton for his full and continued support for the Polluter Pays Bill.

Polluter Pays evidence session at the Building Safety Bill Committee

On Tuesday the 14th of September Steve Day and Alison Hills gave evidence at the bill committee as affected leaseholders and of course to give the committee a clearer understanding of the Polluter Pays Bill. Steve and Alison were able to speak at length about why the Polluter Pays is the right instrument as an amendment to the Building Safety Bill to deal with cost and to make sure this will never happen again.

One of the key points coming out of the session, which is not mentioned enough, is the loss of trust in the industry. It is the reason our insurance costs have shot up, it is the reason we cannot sell our homes, it is the reason why there is the introduction of a safety charge in the bill. All these problems will not be restored unless we deal with the problem at the root. We cannot let industry off with a levy and some taxes. They need to be made to pay in full for where they breached building regulations.

We would really recommend to watch the full evidence session. You can watch it here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4ff64bdc-800f-466a-9d56-5a1f6c5722ea?in=16:09:04#player-tabs

A small segment of the evidence session, Steve talking about the lack of trust and the impact of the crisis on people living through it. Full redress is the only way to restore trust.
ARMA backs the Polluter Pays Bill

We are very pleased to announce that ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) is supporting the Polluter Pays Bill as the mechanism to recover as much money from the “Polluter” as possible. Arma stated:

“The proposal put forward to ensure that the responsible parties pay for cladding remediation and building safety work has been the stance of ARMA since the very start of this current crisis – we have long campaigned and asked Government to protect leaseholders from these crippling costs by immediately forward-funding all necessary remediation work required to make affected buildings and their residents safe as soon as possible. Allowing the Government to identify those works and place the responsibility of remediation costs on those who failed to make the grade in terms of materials, workmanship, or construction standards – rather than on leaseholders – is a sensible and practical solution to the current crisis.

“Adopting the Polluter Pays amendment will remove the current requirement in the Building Safety Bill for building owners and managing agents to pursue all reasonable avenues for costs, as well as the option for leaseholders to take what will likely be costly legal action against developers, and replaces it with a more practical scheme, where Government funds the work and recovers any costs from liable parties  – whether regulatory failure, developers, contractors, manufacturers, or warranty providers, for example – after the work has been completed. 

“Managing agents have shown extraordinary dedication to their residents, working tirelessly to expand their resources, and investing in supporting affected leaseholders in the last few years, so we are genuinely supportive of a remediation process that is proportionate, and entirely funded and delivered by Government.”

You can find the full news item on their website: https://arma.org.uk/news/2021/08/arma-welcomes-the-recovery-potential-of-the-polluter-pays-provision-as-an-amendment-to-the-building-safety-bill

How the Bill works

We will be releasing the bill clauses/explanatory notes/human rights assessment as soon as we can. In the meantime – here is how the bill will protect leaseholders from remediation and interim costs.

  • Does not delay remediation or government upfront funding.
  • No litigation for leaseholders – government handles redress on their behalf.
  • Recovers interim and remediation costs in FULL from those responsible for defective buildings.

The approach has been backed by the following in addition to 14 backbench MPs and has already been tabled twice in parliament but not yet debated. Legal Work conducted by Daniel Greenberg (Parliamentary Counsel) operating in a private capacity.

  • It will also ensure all companies keep to building regulations going forward as they will be made to PAY IN FULL for breaching building regulations instead of being let off with LEVIES.
  • Goes after parent companies / parent company insurance policies if ‘polluting’ company no longer exists.
  • 2 levies where no responsible party can be found for defective buildings.
  • Public money saved for non-defective buildings.
  • Emergency grants for leaseholders now!
  • The purpose of the bill is to ensure ALL leaseholders get grants for remediation work by ensuring we extract the maximum amount of money from those who have broken building regulations instead of relying on just levies.

The Sunday Times backs the Polluter Pays Bill and some other updates

In today’s Sunday Times Steve Day and his neighbours at Royal Artillery Quays receive a lot of attention. Topic of conversation is how they managed to get Barrats to pay out, even though they are unable to take them to court and the of course the Polluter Pays Bill. This will be followed up by an interview this evening on Times Radio at 7.30PM.

The Sunday Times is backing the Polluter Pays Bill in their own campaign to end the Building Safety Crisis.

In other news today, Steve and his team will be meeting with government officials this week to fight the leaseholders corner to get the Polluter Pays introduced into the Building Safety Bill as a Government amendment. Steve will also be speaking at the Public Bill Committee the following week (14 September).

You can read the Sunday Times article here (subscription needed): https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-man-fighting-housebuilders-to-make-them-foot-his-cladding-bill-rcwlt8nmg
and here (also subscription): https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/builders-may-have-to-fix-fire-risk-flats-3k3cp0qt5

Deltapoll results about the Polluter Pays

Over the period 23-26th of July 2021 Deltapoll conducted a survey around the fire safety issues affecting many building across the UK. The survey consisted of 4 questions and we will sumarise the main takes of the poll. We would like to express our gratitude to Deltapoll for conducting this survey for us.

Following the fire in Grenfell Tower four years ago, many other blocks of flats have been found to have the kind of flammable cladding, or other serious defects, that could cause a similar fire. Do you personally live in one of these flats, or know someone who does?

I live in one of these blocks of flats5%
I personally know people who do14%
I don’t personally know anyone who does76%
I’m not sure6%

A staggering 19% or roughly 1 in 5 people are either directly involved or know people who do. In London, where there are a lot of multi storey buildings this number rises to 32%. The fire safety issues also disproportionately affect younger people. In the age groups 18-24 and 25-34 the numbers are 40 and 39% respectively.

In general, and bearing in mind the large costs that could be involved, how much do you think each of the following should contribute to the cost of making these blocks of flats safe from these kinds of fire? These costs are likely to be thousands, and often tens of thousands, of pounds per flat.

Pay more than half the costpay less than half the cost
The original developer70%8%
The current landlord49%24%
the current leaseholder17%67%
the Government41%32%

People clearly belief that the responsibility lies with the original developer, 7 out 10 people feel they should bear the greatest financial contribution to making the buildings safe again. Only 17% of respondents believe that leaseholders should bear the majority of the costs.

The Government is offering to help people living in blocks of flats more than six storeys (18 metres) high. It says that blocks of flats less than six storeys high are less likely to face a catastrophic fire, and leaseholders should pay more of the coost if they wish to remove the flammable cladding. Do you think people living in flats of six floors or less should pay more of the cost, or be treated the same as people living on blocks of flats six or more storeys high?

It is reasonable for people living in buildings up to six storeys high to pay more, as the risks of a catastrophic fire are less 16%
People living in buildings containing flammable cladding should be treated the same, regardless of height68%
Don’t know16%

The majorty of respondents reject the government view that low and medium rise buildings carry less risk than high rise. This has clear implications for the forced loan scheme and revised ews1 guidance

In some cases, developers followed the rules in force at the time. In many others, they did not follow the rules.
Thinking about those blocks of flats where it is established that the developers failed to follow the regulations in force at the time, here are two statements, A and B. Which of these comes closer to your view?

statementviews closer to statement on left
A. It would be unfair to require developers to meet the full cost of repairs to buildings thathave been up for more than ten years, after the normal guarantees have been expired and no defects were detected in that time.21%
B. If the developers were at fault, it should make no difference when the flats were built. The Government should pass a law enforcing the principle that “the polluter pays”, with developers made to pay in full to make these buildings safe.64%

Support for the Polluter Pays principle and therefore support for a bill based on this very same principle is very high. In fact support for it is highest amongst conservative voters with 71%.

You can find the full survey results here:

A bill by leaseholders for everyone

On Saturday we released a new video to drum up support for the Polluter Pays Bill. The last week has been very encouraging, but we are by no means there yet. Government, in the name of Lord Greenhalgh, said this week it is actively looking into our bill, if it could be inserted into the Building Safety Bill. We need to keep pushing Government and MPs of all parties to come together to support our proposal. The bill has been drafted by Daniel Greenberg (a barrister specialising in legislation). It is very important to keep trust in the building industry in this country and our bill will be a very big step in the right direction. It would be the start of proper consumer protection when making probably the biggest purchase in life. It would of course also protect leaseholders currently affected by this crisis. It contains emergeny clauses to release funds now. We need to make it happen and we need your support. Please write to your MP to show support for the Polluter Pays Bill!