Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the cladding issue in parliament earlier this week, stating: “We’re absolutely clear that leaseholders should not have to worry about the cost of fixing historic safety defects that they didn’t cause.”
A plan to offer more support is apparently ongoing, but the delays have meant some homeowners are already thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Leanne Kilheeney of the Manchester Cladiators said: “Sadly for us the government’s fund for the Waking Watch fees came too late. We have already paid thousands of pounds each for several months of Waking Watch and new fire alarms. This will not be covered by the fund as no retrospective cases are covered.
“We are worried that this will happen with other government funding too. A huge amount of issues are not covered by the current government funds that people are getting invoiced for now. It may be the case the the government eventually release funds for this – but for many of us it will be too late.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham acknowledged that whilst the financial support package was a “step in the right direction” to resolve the cladding scandal, far more financial support from central government was required.
“The impact on leaseholders is staggering, with residents fearing a devastating and unfair choice between bankruptcy and long-term loans,” the Mayor stated.
“This is not a party-political issue and we must all work to ensure a solution is found to the building safety crisis, and I look forward to further positive engagement with the Minister.
“This issue which affects thousands is not about buildings but about people and I am keen to work with the Government to support all residents of Greater Manchester who are affected.”
Salford City Mayor and Chair of the High Rise Task Force Paul Dennett said the scale of the cladding problem in Greater Manchester was “huge”; with increasing numbers of buildings being revealed as vulnerable.
He stated: “Leaseholders in buildings with serious fire safety failings and those in non-high rise buildings are also burdened by the costs of waking watches because of fire safety issues that they are not responsible for and this is completely unacceptable.
“I urge the Government to commit to making further funding available, and to extend the eligibility requirement so that all affected buildings can apply, not just those over 18 metres or with cladding-related problems.”
Find out more about the Waking Watch Relief Fund here.
‘Warm Banks’ set up in Greater Manchester to help people who ‘cannot afford to put the heating on’
A council in Greater Manchester has confirmed plans to open ‘Warm Banks’, to help people keep warm this winter as energy bills skyrocket.
Oldham Council will be creating welcoming, heated, sheltered spaces for those who ‘cannot afford to put the heating on’.
The move will see places like libraries turned into Warm Banks as part of the council’s £3m plans to tackle the cost of living crisis.
In a statement, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Council, said that schemes such as Warm Banks ‘should not be necessary in 2022’.
It’s hoped that the plans will particularly help vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and families with young children, through the colder months.
She said: “As part of our £3m commitment to tackle the cost of living, we’re setting up Warm Banks so that Oldham residents who are cold and cannot afford to put the heating on have a place where they can get warm.
“These should not be necessary in 2022, but the reality for many people is that the cost of energy is unaffordable and without support, they will be cold in their own homes. This is particularly worrisome for our vulnerable residents such as the elderly or families with young children.
“Our Warm Banks are places already open to the public, such as our libraries. We’ll be investing into these spaces over the coming weeks to make sure they’re as welcoming as they can be. We’ll also be working with our partners to identify places in the community that can be used as Warm Banks to ensure none of our residents are forced to be cold.
“As we approach the winter months and face another rise in our energy costs tomorrow with the October price cap increase, this situation is going to get worse for residents. But they’re not alone and as a council, we can help.
“Our team are on hand to help anyone who is already struggling with their energy costs. Through our Warm Homes Scheme, residents can access a range of support including claiming for Warm Homes Discount, help to switch energy suppliers or tariffs as well as ways to maximise your income to help make the basics more affordable.
“If you’re struggling, we can help. Please contact our emergency helpline on 0161 770 7777 and our staff will do everything they can to make things a little easier for you.”
Featured image: Oldham Council
Kwasi Kwarteng U-turns on plan to axe 45p tax rate for higher earners
Kwasi Kwarteng has U-turned on plans to scrap the 45p rate of income tax for the UK’s highest earners.
The sudden change of heart comes just 10 days after the Chancellor unveiled his mini Budget, which has led to 10 days of market turmoil and fierce pressure from within the Conservative party.
Just yesterday, Prime Minister Liz Truss insisted that the tax cut, which would benefit Brits earning more than £150,000, would go ahead.
Mr Kwarteng said that the proposals had ‘become a distraction’ in a statement released this morning.
Given that his Growth Plan has been labelled a ‘Kami-Kwase Budget’, that would seem to be an understatement.
“We get it, and we have listened,” he wrote.
His statement says: “From supporting British business to lowering the tax burden for the lowest paid, our Growth Plan sets out a new approach to build a more prosperous economy.
“However, it is clear that the abolition of the 45p tax rate has become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country.
“As a result, I’m announcing we are not proceeding with the abolition of the 45p tax rate. We get it, and we have listened.
“This will allow us to focus on delivering the major parts of our growth package.
“First, our Energy Price Guarantee, which will support households and businesses with their energy bills. Second, cutting taxes to put money back in the pockets of 30 million hard-working people and grow our economy.
“Third, driving supply side reforms – including accelerating major infrastructure projects – to get Britain moving.”
Mr Kwarteng’s U-turn on the 45p tax cut policy has been described as ‘humiliating’ and comes on the second day of the Tory party conference in Birmingham.
Former Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said: “Strongly welcome today’s 45p tax reversal. Sensible & pragmatic.
“Conservatives want lower tax, but let’s show our energy price cap + other policies are on side of consumers rather than borrowing to cut high earner taxes first.”
Piers Morgan said: “Tories to U-turn on 45p tax rate cut. Humongous humiliation for @trussliz @KwasiKwarteng and worse possible start to their conference. She’ll have to sack him, surely?”