Three years on from the Grenfell tragedy, and there are still an estimated
11 million people around the country living in buildings covered in
dangerous flammable cladding.
Leaseholders who own flats in these buildings have faced an incredible
ordeal in recent years. Many have been left with houses they cannot sell
and cannot afford to move out of, knowing that a wholly ordinary kitchen
accident – like most of the 100 or so fires that happen every day in the
UK – might result in a deadly fire.
Moreover, they face enormous costs in the form of insurance premiums,
estate management charges, and interim safety measures like waking watch
fire patrols. Those that cannot afford to pay, face bankruptcy and
homelessness. The longer this crisis continues, the greater the cost.
Finally, to add insult to injury, leaseholders face the prospect of having
to pay to fix their buildings despite bearing no responsibility whatsoever
for covering them in unsafe materials. One block of apartments in Edgbaston
will cost 13.8 million pounds to fix — £40,000 per flat.
On Monday, the Labour Party forced a vote on a motion calling for major
action to fix the cladding crisis. As well as asking for upfront funding so
that cladding remediation work can begin immediately, the motion also moved
to protect leaseholders from the cost of this work and to pursue those
developers and builders responsible. This was voted through by 263-0. The
Conservatives didn’t even show up.
I have been clear from the beginning, that ordinary people should not be
forced to pay the cost of a crisis they didn’t create. In the coming
months, my Party will seek to amend the Fire Safety Bill to put protections
for leaseholders into law.
READ MORE ABOUT MONDAY'S DEBATE 
Rolling up our sleeves
Coronavirus has had an appalling impact on Birmingham’s Black, Asian and
Minority Ethnic communities, with Black and South Asian people more than
twice as likely to die from coronavirus.
This week I joined up with other South Asian MPs of all political
persuasions, to urge everyone to get the Covid-19 vaccine when it is their
turn. We may disagree on many things, but on the importance of getting
vaccinated we are united.
There were 75,000 people in the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax and
J&J trials who received a Covid vaccine, and none of them died from Covid.
We know the vaccine is safe. We know it will protect our loved ones. And we
know it will eventually help us end lockdown and ease back to something
like normal life.
I urge all of my constituents, no matter where they live or what community
they are from, to get the vaccine as soon as they are offered it.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Supporting students in Birmingham
Students have been dealt a raw deal during the pandemic. Last month, with
the new lockdown, many students were told by the Government to stay at home
rather than return to campuses, putting those paying for accommodation in a
While the University of Birmingham offered a rebate to students renting
university-operated accommodation, many students in the private rental
sector have been left paying for flats that it is illegal for them to use.
With many of the key sectors students rely on for work closed during the
lockdown, the financial impact of this policy has been serious for many
This week I joined with the University of Birmingham Guild of Students to
ask landlords to work with students struggling with their rent. We pushed
for flexibility with rent demands, including longer payment schedules and
early breaks from contracts in the worst cases.
If you are a student and are experiencing problems with your landlord and
need support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by emailing [email protected].