MEP Midlands North West

Statement on EU Mica Report

Over the past number of years, I have actively engaged with the homeowners affected by the defective concrete block crisis. I fully appreciate the extremely difficult situation they find themselves in and the enormous impact it is having on their lives. I have always sought a comprehensive scheme with reduced bureaucracy that addresses all the issues, while also holding those responsible to account and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. 

As part of this work, I attended a European Parliament fact-finding mission to Ireland in November 2023 and made many suggestions, which were included in the draft report.

Further to this, I engaged with various Mica action groups to formulate a number of amendments to further strengthen the report- and submitted them through the office of my colleague MEP Peter Jahr, who is a member of the relevant Committee (PETI). 

One of these, Amendment 10, has garnered recent attention. It includes wording, to ensure that the worst affected homeowners are prioritised. It recognises the banks need to take a more proactive role to address the impact, including offering more sympathetic lending conditions such as zero-interest loans and providing bridging finance to enhance the effectiveness of the scheme.  It also advocates for a comprehensive wraparound service, which is adequately resourced, easily accessible, and operates during regular office hours, to assist affected homeowners.

 

The amendment also refers to the possibility of invoking ‘force majeure’ in order to provide flexibility around regulations such as planning to avoid further delays. The use of this phrase has raised some concerns, as some have interpreted it differently.

 

I have re-engaged with some of the key representatives from the action groups who equally have concerns about the phrase ‘force majeure’, however they do not want to lose the other very positive elements of the amendment.

To avoid ambiguity and build consensus, I have ensured that the amendment will be voted on in sections, which is allowable under the procedures. This means the phrase “force majeure” will be removed, while the other positive elements of the amendment will remain. 

Separately, I am concerned about a deletion in Amendments 2 and 3 that removes important wording. This happened at a technical level and is not something we support. Having sought clarification, and to ensure the original wording remains, we have asked the relevant office to withdraw these amendments and they are happy to do it. Ensuring market surveillance is a vital aspect of the overall report and is something we have always pushed for.

I anticipate widespread support across the political groups for this position as this is what the MICA representatives have indicated is the preferred course of action.

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