Politics

Angry residents hit out at cabinet minister who wrongly claimed ‘waking watch’ fees would be cut

independent– A cabinet minister is under fire for wrongly claiming he would curb the crippling fees charged by firms patrolling buildings at risk of a Grenfell-style fire.

Angry residents, forced to pay thousands of pounds a month for “waking watches”, lashed out at Robert Jenrick for misleading the public and offering false hope.

The housing secretary has also been strongly criticised by the Local Government Association (LGA), after he told councils to crack down on the charges – pointing out they have no powers to do so.

The controversy comes after Mr Jenrick survived the scandal of unlawfully approving a planning application in a way that would have saved a Tory donor tens of millions of pounds.

His department also approved a controversial £25m Towns Fund handout to his Newark constituency – which was one of 101 winners despite being only 270th on the most-deprived list.

The fresh row was sparked when Mr Jenrick, in November, called the “outrageous” waking watch charges “a national scandal” and said they must be cut.

“We will be reporting this to the regulatory authorities and hope that they will clamp down on these practices as quickly as possible,” the House of Commons was told.

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