Houses of Parliament (stock image)

In a packed week for building fire safety, the House of Lords considers amendments to the Bill and top mandarins face scrutiny over last year’s Communities department annual report.

The Fire Safety Bill returns to the House of Lords on Tuesday this week, as peers consider Commons’ amendments. This is not the first time that the Bill has returned to the Lords, in a process known as ping pong, and the amendment about who pays for cladding remediation remains contentious.

Lord Greenhalgh, who is Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities as well as holding the Fire brief in the Home Office, leads for the government.

The controversial amendment is known as the McPartland-Smith amendment, named after the sponsoring MPs, Stephen McPartland MP and Royston Smith MP. It would prohibit the owner of a building from passing cladding remediation costs on to leaseholders and tenants. Currently, the Commons disagrees with this amendment: “Because the issue of remediation costs is too complex to be dealt with in the manner proposed.”

Today, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee investigates the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government’s Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20.

Chair of the Committee, Clive Betts MP will hear evidence from Permanent Secretary, Jeremy Pocklington, Alex Skinner, Director of Local Government Finance, Emran Mian, Director for Stronger Places and Matt Thurstan, Chief Financial Officer.

The session will examine departmental spending in the last financial year. This will include focus on particular programmes including Help to Buy and cladding remediation, as well as overall departmental spend and local government financial health.

One of the seven operational objectives set out in the MHCLG Departmental Plan includes:

“Secure effective support for those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster, delivering the changes this tragedy demands and ensuring people are safe and feel safe within their homes.”

This oral evidence session will give MPs the chance to scrutinise the Grenfell-related work of the Ministry as well as cladding issues.

MHCLG Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20

Fire Safety Bill Lords amendments and Commons reasons


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BDC 311 : Dec 2023