A Welsh MP is calling on the government to investigate thousands of complaints about cavity wall insulation in a scandal that ‘could be as big as PPI’.
Labour MP Chris Elmore is calling for an independent inquiry into historic complaints about cavity wall insulation affecting as many as three million households nationwide.
He said: “The victims of the cavity wall insulation scandal have been voiceless for far too long.
Some of these people’s homes are now uninhabitable, their health has deteriorated and their lives have been put on hold.
And all because they agreed to have cavity wall insulation fitted.”
The scheme was promoted by successive governments as part of a green energy policy and millions of people took advantage of it.
Potential weak spots
Properly installed the work involved pumping insulating material into the cavity between the two layers of brick which filled the space and blocked any potential weak spots allowing heat to escape.
In most cases the material used was polyurethane foam, but glass wool or polystyrene beads stuck together with a bonding agent were also used.
Poor working practices
However, Mr Elmore claims some of the companies working in the field were fitting the insulation to unsuitable properties which were affected by wind-blown rain or used poor working practices which caused severe damp incursions into the buildings.
He further claims that when complaints started to arise, firms began ‘phoenixing’ and refusing to accept responsibility for paying compensation for problem jobs.
Said Mr Elmore: “Companies have phoenixed into new companies to avoid giving the people they have wronged the redress they deserve.
The fact that the agency set up to guarantee their works isn’t fit for purpose just adds to their plight.
He claims the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) which is supposed to guarantee the quality of work has been widely criticised for ‘ducking their responsibility’ to homeowners affected.
He said: “It’s time the UK Government opened an independent inquiry into historic complaints to ensure that those who have been taken advantage of through a government-backed scheme get the justice they deserve.
“With a potential victim pool of three million people, this scandal could be as big as PPI. It’s time ministers treated it that way.”
Six point plan
He will ask the government to:
- Set up an independent inquiry into historic cavity wall insulation complaints to determine the scale of the problem and seek resolution for those affected
- Allocate more resources to CIGA and allow them to issue compensation where appropriate
- Failing this, to set up a new, independent body to oversee cavity wall insulation complaints and compensate people where injustices can be found
- Meet with Action Fraud to ensure they have adequate resources to investigate companies of phoenixing
- Work with the Welsh Government and other devolved administrations to ensure any such measures are accessible/replicable across the UK
- Provide an update as to whether the recommendations of the Each Home Counts review have been implemented and the impact, if any, this has had