End Our Cladding Scandal: Budget Statement

The Chancellor had the chance today to ensure millions of leaseholders were rescued from our nightmare, but he blew his opportunity.

Chancellor Sunak has chosen to hang millions of innocent people out to dry; still forced to somehow find tens of thousands of pounds to fix serious fire safety issues for which they are blameless, with millions being pushed into Cladding Tax loans longer than our mortgages, lease terms and lifetimes.

Mr Sunak said he wants to “stand behind homebuyers” – these are only warm words spun to boost his brand. Where is the help for the hundreds of thousands of first-time buyers stuck in unsafe and valueless flats? Robert Jenrick has decided to rule innocent people out of any help and the Chancellor is now equally to blame.

Innocent victims of this crisis, with the misfortune of living in a building below the arbitrary 18m height threshold for funding, still face bills running into tens of thousands of pounds for fire safety works far beyond cladding.

The inadequate and unfair plans of the Government will only doom us to negative equity, leading to thousands of repossessions and bankruptcy. This is the legacy this Government will have and for which the Prime Minister and Chancellor will be personally responsible.

The Government may make a big play of spinning the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme into one designed to help first-time buyers. With a limit of £600,000 and not being restricted to first-time buyers, this is palpably false. This is a scheme designed primarily to provide billions of pounds of further subsidies to the rogue developers who have ruined our lives and, secondarily, to ensure house prices are boosted even further.

The Chancellor has chosen to ignore the fact that the property ladder is, and will remain, broken due to Mr Jenrick’s unfair Feb 10th announcement that will fail to bring any certainty back to the full housing market. Those developers are already making billions of pounds a year and the current plans for a miniscule levy on their exorbitant profits only add further insult to the financial and mental injury we have suffered for nearly four years.

The Chancellor is still asking leaseholders to stump up enormous sums simply to know their home is safe and will not burn down in minutes. Yet the country’s largest developers will only pay a tiny percentage of their profits in the next ten years to sort out the awful mess they created.

He said he wants to turn generation rent into generation buy, but without sorting out the cladding crisis he’s turning us into generation bankrupt.

When will the Chancellor wake up to the biggest problem in the housing market and stop the sleepless nights for millions trapped in firetrap flats up and down the country?

The Chancellor also said that “when crises come, we need to be able to act” – the Building Safety Crisis is happening right now, and the Government has not acted fairly or properly. The Government may well try to turn this into a battle between leaseholders and taxpayers, but this is nothing of the sort. We are still nowhere near a fair and proper solution that makes the polluter pay.

Still determined? Still generous? Still fair? Not if you are a leaseholder. The numerous promises made to protect us from costs have been torn apart. We are still so far from being levelled up. We cannot commend the Chancellor’s Budget in any way, shape or form.

We have been left with no option but to turn to the Prime Minister to save us from more years of misery. Only he has the power to do this now and our letter to him has just been published by Inside Housing.

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