On Wednesday 29th Novemeber, Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd led a debate at the National Assembly for Wales on the growing scandal of cavity wall insulation mis-selling.
Mick Antoniw was joined at the Assembly by victims of mis-selling from Pontypridd and Taff Ely and by Pauline Saunders of victims’ support group CIVALLI.
Commenting after the debate, Mick Antoniw said:
“Cavity wall insulation mis-selling affects thousands of people across Wales. I have been contacted by people from all parts of the constituency including Llantrisant, Rhydyfelin, Tonyrefail and Church Village about inappropriately or poorly installed cavity wall insulation, which leaves some families – often those in the poorest communities – to live in damp and mouldy conditions.
“There are numerous problems with the cavity wall insulation industry including mis-selling by unqualified people, poor workmanship and the lack of any robust UK Government oversight, which means victims can’t get fair redress or compensation.
“It’s also the case that much of Wales may not be suitable for cavity wall insulation, because of severe levels of wind-driven lane. In these circumstances mineral fibre insulation acts as a bridge to draw moisture into the home.”
Christopher Gray, from Rhydyfelin, who is one of dozens of cases taken up by Mick Antoniw said:
“After a long battle with CIGA, the insurer, I went to appeal and won my case. Unfortunately when CIGA extracted the insulation they did significant damage to the render on my property, making the damp problem even worse.
“The appeal body has said there’s nothing they can do about this, so now I’m left with the choice of living in an increasingly damp home or taking CIGA to the High Court at huge cost.”
Ken Bowen, also from Rhydyfelin added:
“I was mis-sold cavity wall insulation in 2007. I’d never had any problems with damp or mould in my property, but around twelve months after the installation damp started appearing. The fight to get the insulation removed has been extremely distressing. CIGA, who issue the guarantee just didn’t want to know. The UK Government needs to do something about this issue, which making so many people’s lives a misery.”
Mick Antoniw, has seen these issues arising time and again:
“Mr Gray and Mr Bowen’s cases are not at all unusual. CIGA, the organisation that handles complaints was set up by the cavity wall insulation industry and the directors of cavity wall insulation companies sit on the board. CIGA is grossly under-funded, with reports suggesting that they are able to meet the cost of less than a thousand of the six million guarantees they have issued. Is it any wonder that their complaint rejection rate is so high?
“The big energy companies, installers, CIGA and the complaints resolution body CEDR appear to be in denial about the scale and impact of what’s happening. It’s clear that this scandal may go beyond mis-selling. The UK Government must step up and take action to put right the mess that it is ultimately responsible for. Nothing less than a full enquiry into the industry, including establishing a fair redress process for victims will do.”
“I am pleased that there was cross-party support for the motion and a commitment from the Welsh Government to continue to press CIGA to do more for victims. I am also encouraged that the Welsh Government has acted to strengthen the requirements for building regulations competent person schemes responsible for CWI in Wales and I will continue to campaign on behalf of local people on this issue and urge Welsh Government to do all it can to support victims, including demanding meaningful action from the UK Government.”
Pauline Saunders of victims’ support group CIVALLI said:
“Cavity wall insulation mis-selling causes misery for thousands of families across the UK, but in Wales we have an opportunity to stand up for victims, many of whom are from poorer communities, are older or are in ill-health. The Welsh Government must speak up for the victims of mis-selling.
“CIVALLI will continue to support Mick Antoniw’s campaign in Pontypridd and to provide help and information to victims of mis-selling and who have been ignored by the industry and the UK Government for too long.”