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Communities and housing secretary Sajid Javid slams Camden Council's Chalcots handling

PUBLISHED: 13:19 09 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 01 June 2018

Sajid Javid speaks to a passer-by while being interviewed by the Ham& High in Finchley Road. Picture: Harry Taylor

Sajid Javid speaks to a passer-by while being interviewed by the Ham& High in Finchley Road. Picture: Harry Taylor

Harry Taylor

The government’s communities secretary has condemned Camden Council’s handling of the Chalcots Estate evacuation, and said the council needed to be clearer about the government support they want.

The Conservatives were joined by Sajid Javid to launch their manifesto for the local elections on SaturdayThe Conservatives were joined by Sajid Javid to launch their manifesto for the local elections on Saturday

During a campaign visit to Camden on Saturday, Sajid Javid said the council had tried to avoid the blame for any problems on the estate.

“It’s important to remember there were multiple fire safety failures, including 1000 fire doors that were found to be inadequate. That’s a failing of the local council.

“For a long time the council wanted to deny any responsibility for it, and that didn’t help build local confidence.”

He also said he believed residents felt they hadn’t been looked after properly.

Sajid Javid with Camden Conservatives leader Gio Spinella, and candidates for Frognal and Fitzjohns Andrew Parkinson and Henry Newman. Picture: Harry TaylorSajid Javid with Camden Conservatives leader Gio Spinella, and candidates for Frognal and Fitzjohns Andrew Parkinson and Henry Newman. Picture: Harry Taylor

“People have a right to feel safe, and they don’t. It’s the council’s job, and they just haven’t been up to it.”

He made the comments while visiting Camden for the Camden Conservative Party local elections launch on Saturday.

The government pledged financial support for councils to carry out work on tower blocks in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster last year.

However leader of Camden Council, Georgia Gould has said no financial support has been received from the government since the evacuation of the Chalcots’ five towers in June.

Sajid Javid with Camden Conservatives leader Gio Spinella, and candidates for Frognal and Fitzjohns Andrew Parkinson and Henry Newman. Picture: Harry TaylorSajid Javid with Camden Conservatives leader Gio Spinella, and candidates for Frognal and Fitzjohns Andrew Parkinson and Henry Newman. Picture: Harry Taylor

The bill for removal and re-installation of cladding, as well as new window frames and curtain wall could reach £56million after further work was approved by cabinet in March.

According to the cabinet meeting’s papers, the council may have to apply to lift its Housing Revenue Account debt cap in order to borrow funds for the work.

The secretary of state for housing, communities and local government also said support for authorities was available, but said councils needed to be clear about what they wanted.

“If [councils] need financial support then they should approach the government and we will give them the support they need.

Sajid Javid speaks to a passer-by while being interviewed by the Ham& High in Finchley Road. Picture: Harry TaylorSajid Javid speaks to a passer-by while being interviewed by the Ham& High in Finchley Road. Picture: Harry Taylor

“Some councils need to do a better job, get their act together and tell us what they need, but we won’t be turning any council away if they need financial flexibilities.”

Mr Javid urged Camden voters to back his party at the ballot box next month . “What I see across the country is Conservative councils that provide better front line services for lower taxes.

“What you see in Camden is a typical Labour administration that has no idea how to manage money. They would rather cut frontline services than find savings and proper efficiencies.”

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