“But all the savings I’ve had and all the plans I’ve made are going to all these bills.
“The £500 a month I am paying for the operational cost of this is difficult but when it comes to the cost of fixing all the internals that is quite terrifying.
“That’s potentially going to bankrupt us.”
Sarah says she was told she could be evacuated using the lift alongside the fire service but has now learned the lift is not up to specification, meaning she would be unable to evacuate in a fire.
‘The government is totally burying their head in the sand on this issue. I really don’t feel like this government treats disabled people’s lives as equal’ Birmingham leaseholder Sarah RennieBirmingham leaseholder Sarah Rennie
The first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry saw recommendations that leaseholders who are unable to self-evacuate should each get Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs). But the government has not implemented the recommendation and was taken to a judicial review by the family of Sakina Afrasehabi, who died at Grenfell after being unable to leave the building due to severe mobility issues.
A new consultation is under way but in the meantime Sarah has teamed up with another disabled leaseholder to launch the Leaseholder Disability Action Group (Clad DAG) to campaign against the impact of the cladding crisis.
“The government is totally burying their head in the sand on this issue. I really don’t feel like this government treats disabled people’s lives as equal,” says Sarah.
“Working and living in a building that is unsafe is pretty terrifying and I feel angry that I’ve been mis-sold what I thought was a safe flat I could live in for life.
“And I feel betrayed by the government that is demonstrating they really don’t care about the value of disabled people’s lives.”
She adds: “They’ve learnt nothing from the Grenfell Inquiry.”
A Government spokesperson said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was a terrible tragedy and we are doing everything in our power to implement the recommendations from the first phase of the Inquiry.
“We continue to work with disability groups to improve accessible housing and to develop improved guidance for evacuation.”
“We are bringing forward the biggest improvements to building safety in 40 years through our Building Safety Bill and an unprecedented £5 billion funding package to ensure residents are safe, alongside important new measures to improve the quality of social housing for residents.”