I have heard personally from many people who have had to change their life plans because of difficulties in buying, selling and remortgaging flatted properties with cladding. For some, especially those with real concerns about the safety of their homes, families and themselves, this has caused uncertainty and anxiety in striving for resolution.
The shared desire to improve the situation that those individuals and families have found themselves in has been the driving force behind the Working Group.
I am grateful to the members spanning public, professional, commercial and personal interests for dedicating their time – in what has been an unprecedented year of challenge for everyone in dealing with COVID-19 – to develop solutions. This has not been a straightforward or linear task. The complexity of this issue means that at times changing circumstances have meant it has felt like each step forward is matched with a step back.
Despite these challenges the Working Group has navigated this uncertainty and charted a sustainable path that will help find a way through the current issues in a logical way.
The approach that is recommended is ambitious and rightly goes beyond challenges in property transactions. It will take substantial investment, time and the continued expertise and support of a wide range of sectors to deliver. By taking forward the recommendations in this Report the Scottish Government will be taking unprecedented action in the public interest to provide assurance to people and their wider communities on the safety of their homes, freeing people from valuation and mortgage lending concerns, and allow support for remediation of buildings to be planned fairly and sustainably.
For those that own properties where they have been advised that work is needed, this approach will ensure that their situation and that of others can be considered on a consistent and robust basis with clear advice and support on next steps.
There are no silver bullets or shortcuts available to us – the Working Group has been thorough in exploring the best way forward – but I am determined to do what I can to put arrangements in place that can deliver the recommendations in this Report urgently and in partnership with others, following the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections.
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