OPINION - Evening Standard Comment: At last, some relief for leaseholders over cladding scandal

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  • Michael Gove
    British politician (born 1967)
  • Robert Jenrick
    British politician (born 1982)
Workmen remove the cladding from the facade of a block of flats in Paddington, north London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Workmen remove the cladding from the facade of a block of flats in Paddington, north London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Today’s announcement from Michael Gove on cladding will come as a relief to thousands of leaseholders.

Shifting the burden of cost from flat owners to developers is a significant change in approach compared with that taken by Robert Jenrick, his predecessor.

It has been both unacceptable and extraordinary that so many leaseholders, through no fault of their own, have been trapped inside unsafe and unsellable buildings, and all the while being threatened with eye-watering bills.

It beggars belief that this crisis has been allowed to go on for so long. Thousands of leaseholders have been living a nightmare, their lives put on hold, wracked with stress and fear of financial ruin. It is right that the responsibility to pay for the removal of dangerous cladding is taken from innocent flat owners.

The Government must now take steps to ensure that developers, some of whom are based offshore and have complex ownership structures, do stump up the cash, and that it is not simply left for the taxpayer to pick up the tab.

Queen of puddings

Of all the events to celebrate the platinum anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne, few can be more apposite than the Fortnum & Mason competition for a pudding to commemorate it.

There is a glorious precedent, in the creation of Coronation chicken, an excellent dish, by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume to celebrate the actual coronation. And the association of royalty with cake reached its apogee with the Victoria sponge.

Here’s to a new Queen of Puddings (itself a sublime dessert). The nation looks to Dame Mary Berry, one of the judges, to find a dish fit for a Queen.

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