Ministers in the dock over removal of Grenfell-style cladding in Scotland

Scottish ministers have been accused of “dragging their heels” in replacing Grenfell-style cladding as the bulk of the removal work is earmarked for 2025.

The Scottish Government’s spending review pledged £180 million over three years to remove the potentially harmful insulation.

However, the vast majority of funds – £100 million – will be allocated in 2025/26, while a £30 million budget will start in 2023/24, increasing to £50 million in 2024/25.

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The cladding remuneration programme, which aims to replace insulation in high-risk buildings which are fitted with aluminium composite material (ACM), was initially expected to be rolled out in 2022.

Workers remove cladding for testing from a tower block in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
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The harmful material was partly blamed for the fatal Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, which claimed the lives of 72 people.

More than 100 public buildings, including hospitals and schools, are believed to have the potentially flammable material.

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A freedom of information request revealed that 88 primary and secondary have the potentially combustible insulation.

Mark Griffin, Scottish Labour’s housing spokesman, asked for an update on how many surveyors and fire engineers had been procured to carry out single building assessments earlier this year.

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Housing Minister Shona Secretary replied that 29 buildings had been contacted so far to offer the direct provision of fire engineers.

She added: “Once we ascertain consent and details, we will move to the contracting process.”

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Mr Griffin responded: “It beggars belief that the SNP Government still don’t seem to grasp the urgency of the situation.

“Every year that they fail to act is another year that people are left living and working in unsafe buildings.

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“There is absolutely no more time to waste learning the lessons of the Grenfell tragedy.”

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