I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Florence Eshalomi) for securing the debate. May I say how impressive her introduction was? It is a reflection of the immense talent she brings to the House.
I will speak briefly, because I promised my constituents who live at the Ballymore development at High Point Village in Hayes that I would take every opportunity I could to raise their concerns. Like other Members, I find it virtually impossible to describe the distress that my constituents have experienced and are going through. It started the day after Grenfell, when they were concerned about their own safety, but it then took a long time to get a thorough inspection under way.
The developer has behaved totally irresponsibly and is failing to communicate effectively with my constituents. In addition, we are only now into the application stage for Government assistance to tackle the cladding costs and removal, and we have discovered that, as others have said, large measures will not be covered by the Government’s grant. I find it intolerable that the developer is now coming back and saying that all these other defects, which it is equally responsible for, including the wooden balconies, will not be covered in those costs. Therefore, my constituents feel that they will not be made safe, or, if they are, that it will be at a high cost to themselves and not the developers.
In the meantime, like other Members’ constituents, my constituents are being hit with increases in their service charges, particularly around insurance. There is no way that they can afford the waking watch costs that are being imposed on them. Like others, they feel lost. They are trapped in their homes. They cannot sell on. They are growing families. People are trying to move around the country to get a job, as a result of the job losses in my area, but they cannot, because they just cannot sell on. Their whole lives are being put on hold.
There has to be a sense of urgency from the Government now—a clarity about what is covered by the building grant put forward by the Government, to ensure that there is comprehensive cover. Secondly, all the interim measures have to be covered. Thirdly, there needs to be action from Government on the control of service charges imposed on many of our residents by some of these developers, whom most of us have lost confidence in, even if we had any in the beginning.
I close by re-emphasising the distress that this is causing my constituents—distress to the point that it is affecting their health. I think we have a number of mental health crises now as a result not just of what has happened to constituents because of the development of buildings that were not properly regulated or inspected and that were faultily built, but because of the distress caused by the laggard way in which the Government have handled this issue. I cannot stress enough the sense of urgency that there should be at the heart of Government about addressing these issues.