All 1 Kit Malthouse contributions to the Fire Safety Act 2021

Wed 24th Feb 2021
Fire Safety Bill
Commons Chamber

Consideration of Lords amendments & Ping Pong & Ping Pong: House of Commons

Fire Safety Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office

Fire Safety Bill

Kit Malthouse Excerpts
Consideration of Lords amendments & Ping Pong & Ping Pong: House of Commons
Wednesday 24th February 2021

(10 months, 4 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Fire Safety Act 2021 - Government Bill Page Read Hansard Text
Kit Malthouse Portrait The Minister for Crime and Policing (Kit Malthouse)
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I beg to move, That this House agrees with Lords amendment 1.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Lords amendment 2, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 3, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 4, amendment (e) thereto, Government motion to disagree, and amendments (a) to (c) in lieu, amendments (f) and (g) in lieu, amendment (d) in lieu and amendment (i) in lieu.

Lords amendment 5, and Government motion to agree.

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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It seems a long time since I spoke on this Bill in Committee in June last year. I am playing a small part in the Bill’s passage through both Houses, and I stand in today for the Minister for Security, my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), who led on the Bill at Second Reading and on Report last year. I am sure everyone in this House wishes him a full recovery.

Lords amendments 1 and 5 were moved by the Government on Report following advice that the Home Office received from fire safety operational experts on how to commence the Fire Safety Bill. In Committee, I announced that the Home Office had established an independent task and finish group whose role was to provide a recommendation on the optimal way to commence this Bill. The group was chaired jointly by the National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Sector Federation, and it brought together experts from across the fire and housing sectors.

On 28 September, the task and finish group submitted its advice to the Home Office that the Bill should be commenced at once for all buildings in scope. The Government accepted this recommendation.

The group also recommended that responsible persons under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 should use a risk-based approach to carry out or review fire risk assessments, upon commencement, using a building prioritisation tool, and that the Government should issue statutory guidance to support this approach. The Government accepted this recommendation, which will support responsible persons. The Home Office, with support from the National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Sector Federation, will host the model once it has been finalised.

Lords amendment 1 will allow us to take forward the provision of statutory guidance to support that approach. The amendment ensures that the risk-based guidance, which will be issued by the Secretary of State to support commencement of the Bill for all relevant buildings, will have the appropriate status to incentivise compliance. It does this by stating explicitly that a court can consider whether a responsible person has complied with their duties under the fire safety order by complying with the risk-based guidance. Equally, if a responsible person fails to provide evidence that they have complied, it may be relied upon by a court as tending to support non-compliance with their duties under the order.

The amendment also creates a provision to allow the Secretary of State to withdraw the risk-based guidance, but this can be done only after consultation with relevant stakeholders. Our rationale for inserting this provision is that we believe a point will eventually be reached where, having followed a risk-based approach to prioritisation, responsible persons will have assessed all the fire safety risks for the external walls of their buildings. At that stage, there may no longer be a need for the guidance to remain in place.

I assure Members that the Government will commence the Bill at the same time as issuing the guidance, and Lords amendment 5 ensures that will happen. This amendment gained the support of the Opposition in the other place when put to a vote on Report. I also recall the comments of the hon. Member for Croydon Central (Sarah Jones) in Committee, when she said this Bill should be commenced at once for all buildings in scope and that a risk-based approach, like the one modelled in her home town of Croydon, should be adopted.

One of the recurring themes during the passage of this Bill has been concern over the number of fire risk assessors with the skills to undertake work on external wall systems. The task and finish group considered this issue as it looked at how responsible persons will be able to update their fire risk assessments, given there is limited capacity in the fire risk assessment sector—primarily of fire engineers working on complex buildings.

The group’s recommendation for a risk-based approach to an all-at-once commencement, on which we are acting, is the most practical way to deal with what is a complex issue. Our approach sends a signal to the fire risk assessor sector—mainly fire engineers—that their expertise should be directed where it is needed most, to the highest-risk buildings.

I thank all members of the task and finish group for their work in developing advice to the Home Office. The group has provided an optimal solution for commencing the Fire Safety Bill, allowing the Government to introduce the provisions at the earliest opportunity. It is important that we continue the good work undertaken with those relevant stakeholders on the task and finish group to regularly monitor the effectiveness of the risk-based guidance and the building prioritisation tool. These provisions will allow us to take forward the recommendations from operational experts in the field of fire safety. I hope that hon. Members will support Lords amendments 1 and 5, as agreed in the other place.

Lords amendment 3 seeks to introduce a power that the Secretary of State must use to make regulations to establish and keep up to date a public register of fire risk assessments. As you have confirmed, Madam Deputy Speaker, this amendment engages financial privilege and will not be debated. The amendment invokes significant financial concerns. To provide a sense of the scale of costs, we can point to two things. First, based on the number of buildings requiring a fire risk assessment, our initial estimate is that the cost to the public purse of a public register of fire risk assessment is above £2 million per annum.

Secondly, these costs would likely be broadly commensurate with the expenditure of maintaining a database of energy performance certificates. That system was mentioned by Opposition colleagues in the other place, who stated that something similar should be introduced for fire risk assessments. The current database of energy performance certificates is housed centrally in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The current costs for this are around £2 million per year, but under private contractual arrangements used previously, they were approximately £4 million a year. Notwithstanding the issue of financial privilege, I sympathise with the intent behind the amendment, and we will not rule out doing this in the future. However, there is a need for detailed policy consideration prior to implementation of such a database, which makes this the wrong time to impose this measure in primary legislation.

I raise just a couple of points to underline our view that the amendment is not appropriate. The amendment would, in effect, create a legal duty on responsible persons to make publicly available the full fire risk assessment for all buildings falling within the scope of regulation owing to the fire safety order. In its current form, the amendment would potentially mean that anyone would be able to access the fire risk assessments for a wide range of premises, including schools, hospitals, care homes and Government buildings. We would have concerns over the risk that posed to security, particularly if the information was accessed by somebody with malicious intent.

Linked to the security issue is the level of information that could and should be made available if a system of recording fire risk assessments is created. For example, a fire risk assessment can often be technical and is very different from an energy performance certificate. It may, for example, prove more effective and transparent to publish a summary of a fire risk assessment, rather than the full document. However, the Government agree with the principle of residents being able to access vital fire safety information for the building in which they live, and we propose introducing legislative provision to allow them to do so in our fire safety consultation. It is important to take a proportionate and appropriate approach to sharing information with residents. However, I hope that hon. Members will understand my concerns and the reason why the Government will resist the amendment.

Lords amendment 2 would place in primary legislation several specific requirements on the owner or manager of a building that contained two or more domestic premises. I recognise that many in this House and the other place wish to see legislative change on this as soon as possible. The Government share that objective, which is why we committed to implementing and legislating for the Grenfell inquiry’s recommendations in our manifesto. The Fire Safety Bill is the first step towards this. It was always intended to be a short, technical piece of legislation designed to clarify that structure, external walls and flat entrance doors should be included within the fire safety order. We need to deliver on that as soon as possible, to ensure that fire risk assessments are updated to take account of the risks in those areas. We intend to implement the areas specified in Lords amendment 2 through regulations, and as such the amendment is unnecessary.

It is not helpful, I have to say, for the House to keep returning to this issue. It risks causing confusion, as we saw through misleading media coverage of Commons Report stage. It also raises doubts in relation to the Government’s commitment to implementation, when all along we have been crystal clear about our intentions. I reassure the Grenfell community, who I know were distressed by the publicity at Committee stage, and those in the House and the wider public that the Government remain absolutely steadfast in our commitment to implement the inquiry’s recommendations.

I am sure everyone across the House accepts the importance of consulting when proposing significant changes to legislation. The importance of that was underlined by the Grenfell inquiry chair, who said that it was important that his recommendations

“command the support of those who have experience of the matters to which they relate.”

Furthermore, the National Fire Chiefs Council’s published response to our fire safety consultation states:

“NFCC supports the Government’s approach to publicly consulting on how to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations. This consultation provides an opportunity to gather wider views on how to practically deliver the recommendations in a way that brings the maximum benefits to public safety.”

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Gary Sambrook Portrait Gary Sambrook (Birmingham, Northfield) (Con)
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I am glad that the Minister has confirmed that extra £3.5 billion, bringing the total to £5 billion. Will he confirm that this will fully cost the removal of the cladding, and that those leaseholders who live in high-rise buildings will not have to foot the bill?

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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That is the case. I know that my MHCLG ministerial colleagues have been in this place and debated this extensively and, having made the case to the Treasury, it was gratifying to see this money come forward. It will assist those who are living in fear in high-rise buildings in particular, but also those in mid-rise buildings, who, as I am sure my hon. Friend knows, will benefit from a financing scheme.

Stephen Doughty Portrait Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op)
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Unfortunately, leaseholders in my constituency have been left in the dark after the announcement the other day because, despite the co-operation between the Welsh Government and the UK Government on the details of this Bill, they have been unable to get answers on the crucial issues of the building development levy and the new tax and on whether there will be any new money for Wales in the proposals laid out by the Secretary of State. Will the Minister urgently respond to the letter from the Welsh Housing Minister, Julie James, which asks reasonable questions and sets out constructive solutions, and will he and his MHCLG colleagues meet me to discuss these issues and find a solution for leaseholders across the United Kingdom?

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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I understand the hon. Gentleman’s impatience, and it is shared by us all across the House. The scheme is in development, as I understand from MHCLG, and I know that Ministers are working hard to get the basis, the foundations and the system in place so that the money can be distributed as quickly as possible. Happily, in terms of high-rise buildings, I think we are well over 90% that are either remediated or in the process of being remediated, but I completely agree with him that we need to work with all urgency to bring as much possible relief from the stress of living with this cladding in the future. I will certainly ask my colleagues at MHCLG to consider his offer of a useful meeting. I know they will be responding to correspondence from the Welsh Government as quickly as possible.

Ben Everitt Portrait Ben Everitt (Milton Keynes North) (Con)
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I think we all recognise the frustration exhibited by the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), which is shared across the House. Perhaps the Minister could explain what steps the Government are taking to make sure that the construction industry pays its fair share in the remediation and the future prevention of risk.

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend. As Members who have perhaps been in the House a little longer than he has will know, I was Housing Minister for a brief period of 12 months about 18 months ago, and the work started then of sitting alongside the construction industry to get it to stand up and fulfil its obligations to the people who were living in defective high-rise buildings in particular. A number of firms did and, from working with them through the Treasury, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and MHCLG, I know that there is a new atmosphere abroad. That is certainly part of the challenge that we face: it is not just about the regulation we are putting in place today, but a cultural change in the industry towards building safety so that it is now a full partner in facing the challenge for the future.

Government funding does not absolve building owners of their responsibility to ensure their buildings are safe. We have been clear that building owners and the industry, as my hon. Friend has just said, should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders. They should consider all routes to meet costs including, for example, through warranties and recovering costs from contractors for incorrect or poor work.

We have always been clear that all residents deserve to be and feel safe in their homes. We are working at pace to ensure remediation of unsafe cladding is completed, and we have an ambitious timescale to do so. As I said earlier, about 95% of high-rise buildings with Grenfell-type ACM cladding identified at the start of 2020 have completed remediation or had works on site by the end of last year. However, I am afraid the Bill is not the correct place for remediation costs to be addressed. It is a short but critical Bill to clarify that the fire safety order applies to the external walls, including cladding, and flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings. That means the responsible person must include those parts of the building in their fire risk assessment. That does not include the remediation of historical defects. It does not have the necessary legislative detail that would be needed to underpin such amendments in regulations. The Building Safety Bill is the appropriate legislative mechanism for addressing these issues, and it will be introduced in the spring. It will contain the detailed and complex legislation that is needed to address remediation costs.

Gareth Davies Portrait Gareth Davies (Grantham and Stamford) (Con)
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Does my hon. Friend believe that incorporating these amendments might delay the Bill and mean that we cannot execute these measures now?

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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I am afraid that that is the fundamental risk we face at the moment. We want to get the Bill on the statute book as quickly as possible. It forms the starting block of a complex web of legislation and regulation that is required to bring about changes in building safety across the whole country. I hope that Members recognise that the potential delay that may be inserted by a back and forth between the Houses over this particular issue is not useful. As I say, this issue should be debated during consideration of the Building Safety Bill, which will be brought forward shortly, and I know that Members will embrace that particular piece of legislation.

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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I will make a little progress, if I may, just to outline why that is. These amendments, I am afraid, are not sufficiently clear or detailed to deliver on what Members say they wish to achieve. They would require extensive drafting in primary legislation, thereby, as we have just discussed, delaying the implementation of the Fire Safety Bill and the crucial measures it puts forward to improve the fire safety regulatory system.

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Kevin Hollinrake Portrait Kevin Hollinrake
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for all the work he did as Housing Minister to resolve this issue; we met on many occasions to discuss it. Does he agree that this amendment is self-defeating in that it puts the onus for any fire safety work back on the owner, who, given debts or the cost of that work, will simply walk away? These owners have probably paid a few thousand pounds per flat to collect, rightly, ground rent. If we put a debt on them for £40,000 per flat, they will simply walk away, and who will then carry the can for the work?

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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My hon. Friend speaks with some expertise in this area and has been a constant presence in debates on this matter over the past few years. He is right. The amendment is self-defeating given the number of, for example, freeholds that are held in limited liability vehicles, which could, in the position he points out, simply put themselves into some kind of insolvency procedure. That is why any measure along these lines would need to be scrutinised carefully and thought about in a little more detail before we brought it in.

Alongside all that, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has committed to taking decisive action to end the cladding scandal once and for all through the Government’s five-point plan to provide reassurance to homeowners and build confidence in the housing market. Funding will be targeted at the highest-risk buildings, in line with long-standing independent expert advice and evidence. Lower-rise buildings with a lower risk to safety will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal through a long-term, low-interest Government-backed financing scheme. The Government are also committed to making sure that no leaseholder in these buildings will pay more than £50 per month towards this remediation. Let me be clear: it is unacceptable for leaseholders to have to worry about the cost of fixing historical safety defects in their buildings.

I ask hon. Members to recognise that while these amendments are based on good intentions, they are not the appropriate means to solve these complex problems. By providing unprecedented funding and a generous financing scheme, we are ensuring that money is available for remediation, accelerating the process, and making homes safer as quickly as possible. I give my assurance that the Government schemes to address these issues will be launched as a matter of priority and that we will provide an update on the underpinning details, as Members have urged us, as soon as we are in a position to do so. For the reasons set out, I hope that the House will see fit to support me in my aspirations with regard to these and other amendments.

Sarah Jones Portrait Sarah Jones (Croydon Central) (Lab)
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It is a pleasure to follow the Policing Minister. I, too, put on record my best wishes to the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), who cannot be here to lead for the Government today. We all wish him a speedy recovery

I thank our fire and rescue services, who are going above and beyond to keep us safe and have worked tirelessly to protect us throughout the covid pandemic. I am grateful to Ministers, to officials and to House staff who have worked with us on this Bill. I give particular thanks to Yohanna Sallberg and Kenneth Fox, who have supported me, in particular, throughout the Bill’s passage. I thank Lord Kennedy of Southwark, and all those Lords who have led this Bill through the House of Lords, and ensured that Labour’s key amendment on implementing the Grenfell phase 1 recommendations was accepted there.

Every time we debate and discuss the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, we hold the memory of those who died in our hands. We must be gentle and respectful, but we must also see the injustice, and honour those who died by taking action, and by not resting until justice has been done and everybody has a safe home that they can afford. I pay tribute to the campaigners—Grenfell United, the families, survivors, and the entire community—for their tireless fight for justice. I also pay tribute to those campaigners who are fighting every day for the hundreds of thousands of people who are trapped in unsafe buildings, and who face extortionate bills and are unable to move. The drumbeat of their lives is fear and anxiety. No Parliament can ignore that.

Thousands of people are working on this, but I particularly thank Ritu and Will from the UK Cladding Action Group, for their assiduous efforts. I thank the 200 people who joined our roundtable this morning, so that we could hear at first hand the horrors that this Government are wilfully enabling. As Ritu said, “we are fellow human beings in these buildings—your family, your friends, your colleagues.” To everyone who is affected, and who is living in fear and anxiety, I say sorry—we must do better.

As we have said throughout the passage of the Bill, we support it, but it is small and the only piece of concrete legislation we have had since Grenfell. That is not an adequate response to the biggest housing safety crisis in a generation. It does not even scratch the surface of the work that must be done to fix the wild west of building control and fire safety that we have seen played out with such horror over the past few weeks during phase 2 of the Grenfell inquiry. It has taken so long to get here, and at every stage we have had to drag the Government into action.

The Government promised to act swiftly after Grenfell, yet it took them almost three years to introduce this Bill. We waited 12 weeks just for them to bring the Bill back to consider Lords amendments. This is intended to be a foundational Bill. Its purpose is to provide clarity, and state what is covered by the fire safety order, which will inform other related and secondary legislation. In Committee the Minister said that the Government intend to legislate further, and he spoke many times of action still to come, as he did today. By this stage, however, we need more than vague commitments about secondary legislation. At the very least, we need a clear timetable from Government that sets out when further changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order will be delivered, when secondary legislation will be introduced, and when the Bill will be implemented.

In response to a deeply frustrated letter from Grenfell survivors in September, the Government said that the introduction of the Fire Safety Bill was a key priority, yet the Bill does not include provision for any of the measures called for by the first phase of the Grenfell inquiry. We would like many issues around improving fire safety to be included in the Bill, but many will now have to be introduced through the draft Building Safety Bill and by secondary legislation. We have no idea when any of those things will happen.

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Aaron Bell Portrait Aaron Bell (Newcastle-under-Lyme) (Con) [V]
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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron). Like many other Members, I extend my best wishes to my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire). We all hope to see him back in his place as soon as possible.

I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate. This is the first opportunity I have had to speak on this extremely important Bill, and naturally my thoughts turn to the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower, which none of us will forget—it shocked and horrified us all throughout the country. I know that the Government are gripped by a determination to right the wrongs of the past and to bring about the biggest improvement to building safety in a generation, to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.

While I am speaking about Grenfell, I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Felicity Buchan) and her speech earlier. She is right that we need to get on with it rather than muck about with parliamentary procedure. That brings me to the reason why I support the Government’s positions today. The Queen’s Speech committed the Government to introducing two Bills on fire and building safety. This Bill, the first, is straightforward but is nevertheless an important step. I very much await the second Bill, the Building Safety Bill. We have to get things right in the right order, and we have to proceed as quickly as possible.

On the substance of this Bill, I certainly welcome the policy intention. It is a profoundly important step towards remedying the flaws in the building safety regime that were identified in the Hackitt report. It is a narrowly drafted Bill, but it enables legal certainty. When the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee did pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill, we heard a lot of evidence suggesting that it was a compelling vision for the future of the industry. The Fire Action Safety Group called it “a positive first step”—I recognise that the group said “first step”—and the London Fire Brigade said it went

“a long way towards meeting the policy objective of a robust regime.”

On that, I think we can all agree.

There are, though, other issues in respect of the remediation of safety problems. I am sure I am not alone in having received emails from a number of leaseholders worried about the unaffordable costs of remediation. They are uncertain and worried, and some face negative equity. I agree with those who have said today that nobody should be in such a position. I can only imagine how I would have felt in my 20s or 30s if I had received a letter suggesting that I had a liability of tens of thousands of pounds. I do not minimise those concerns. However, I do take the Government at face value when they say that the Bill, as drafted, does not have the necessary legislative detail to underpin the amendments in the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) and for Southampton, Itchen (Royston Smith)—a problem my hon. Friend the Minister referred to in his opening speech. Accepting these amendments would require extensive drafting of primary legislation to make them legally workable. That would significantly delay the implementation of the Bill, and I am concerned about the consequences of that.

It is clear that high-rise buildings in this country should never have been fitted with this dangerous, unsafe cladding. It is vital that we take the steps to make this right once and for all—making those buildings safer and protecting residents from crippling costs—and at a pace that the severity of the situation demands. We must ensure that Grenfell can never, ever happen again.

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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I thank the many Members who contributed to this at times impassioned debate about a matter that is of interest to all of us. I know that my fellow Ministers at the Home Office and, indeed, at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will take on board the many points raised. Given the time available to me, I apologise that I am not able to address all the questions put forward. However, I will turn to some of the main themes that have dominated the debate, not least the remediation issue, about which there has been such natural and understandable focus.

It might be worth restating at the beginning the broad task that lies ahead of us as a House and, indeed, as a Government. It falls in three areas. First, we have to deal with remediation as quickly as possible. We talked a lot about that today, and about how we can perhaps increase the pace. Obviously there have been significant steps recently, not least the money that has been put forward. Secondly, we have to restore a proper appreciation of risk and value to affected properties, so that the finance industry and insurance industry can do their work in enabling the transfer of those properties and their protection correctly, rather than the current “computer says no” system.

Kevin Hollinrake Portrait Kevin Hollinrake
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The Minister mentions the time that this will take. Whatever money is put forward, it will take five or 10 years to remediate many buildings. Insurance costs have quadrupled for many residents. There is a solution on the table, provided by the Association of Residential Managing Agents, in which the Government take a top-sliced risk, which would put those premiums back down. Will he look at that proposal and see whether that could be put in place to ease the burden on many leaseholders?

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse
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Secretary of State—sorry; Mr Deputy Speaker. You never know. My hon. Friend raises, as usual, a constructive point. I know that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and, indeed, the Chancellor are meeting with banks and the insurance industry to see what solutions may come forward. The third strand of work is obviously to build a system of building safety and regulation for the future, so that the terrible tragedy of Grenfell can never happen again.

I turn to some of the questions asked. First, I was asked, not least by the hon. Member for Croydon Central (Sarah Jones), why we cannot give a firm timetable for the building safety legislation programme. I recognise that there is an intent and a desire for certainty, and we want to legislate at the earliest possible opportunity. However, Members should also be aware that making these fundamental reforms to building safety is incredibly complex, so it is important that we get this right, as a number of Members raised, by ensuring that our measures are properly scrutinised by experts and Parliament before we legislate.

The Building Safety Bill has more than 140 clauses, and I cannot prejudge the time that Parliament will need to properly scrutinise this important piece of legislation before it is put on the statute book. It is for that reason that I cannot provide specific dates for when legislation will come into force, but I emphasise again that the Government are as committed as ever to delivering the inquiry’s recommendations. We will bring the Fire Safety Bill into force as early as possible after Royal Assent. The regulations will follow as early as practicable, and we expect the Building Safety Bill to be introduced after the Government have considered the recommendations from the HCLG Committee, and when parliamentary time allows. We are therefore resisting the Labour amendment, for the extensive reasons that I mentioned in my opening speech. We think it is unnecessary and inflexible. I restated various points as to why we think that is the case earlier.

I turn to remediation, and particularly the amendments laid by my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) and my good and hon. friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Royston Smith). We recognise that they care deeply about this issue, as do many Members from across the House, and they have obviously worked hard to represent their constituencies with dedication and passion. Having sat with leaseholders, in my role as Housing Minister, and with the bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell community, I am aware, as of course we all are, of the terrible anguish and worry that this has caused to many. We agree with the intent to give leaseholders the peace of mind and financial certainty they crave.