BASINGSTOKE'S MP has "paused" her support for plans to shield leaseholders from the cost of works to make their buildings safe.

Maria Miller said she would not vote for an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill put before Parliament yesterday, which was described as essential to prevent leaseholders suddenly being presented with bills potentially running to tens of thousands of pounds with just weeks to pay.

She said that the Fire Safety Bill "may not be the right place for further assurances on remediation costs", supporting instead the government's pledge to look at the issue when the Building Safety Bill is debated.

The amendment, tabled by MPs Stephen McPartland and Royston Smith, did not go to a vote in the Commons on Wednesday, as there was not enough time.

Another amendment, which called for a ban on freeholders passing fire safety improvement costs to leaseholders, did go to a vote and was defeated.

Mrs Miller had told The Gazette earlier this month that she supported the McPartland-Smith amendment, saying it "provide[s] more protection to leaseholders".

It comes after this newspaper revealed earlier this month that Crown Heights, a block of around 250 apartments, is wrapped in combustible material and has no fire breaks.

Speaking in the debate, Mrs Miller said: "Owning your own home is a very British dream, but it has turned into a nightmare for thousands in the aftermath of Grenfell. That is why there is such strength of feeling across the House today.

"In the UK it should not be high risk to buy a home in a block of flats built and marketed by a reputable house builder under strict building control regimes, only to find that the professional and regulatory checks have been a fiction. That is a situation in which hundreds of my constituents find themselves.

"It is clear from today’s debate that no one wants residents to pay for this disgraceful behaviour, that there cannot be a blank cheque from Government, and that those who caused the problem have to pay for the works that are needed.

"The only question is how we achieve all that, so I warmly welcome the Government’s announcement of an additional £3.5 billion to fund remedial work, a grant scheme for low-rise buildings, a builders levy and a property developer tax.

"This will be of some reassurance to leaseholders, and a start to making sure that those responsible for the failings are made to pay for what they did wrong."

She added that she "accept[ed] the argument" of neighbour MP and government minister Kit Malthouse, who argued that the best place for debate on shielding leaseholders from large costs is not this piece of legislation.

Mrs Miller continued: "In the meantime, the Government have to show how funding promises will work in practice.

"I thank my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for working with me to identify how funds will flow for the waking watch relief fund and remedial works. Making this work in practice has to be a ministerial priority in the coming weeks.

"There also needs to be complete transparency from Homes England on which buildings have been accepted into the scheme, and that if eligible costs legitimately showing location of increase from the initial assessment, applicants can claim from the fund for a cost variation.

"Above all, these plans need to be in place as quickly as possible, and the Government need to tackle the insurance problems that many leaseholders now face.

"Remediation works will not happen overnight, but it is in no one’s interest to delay this Bill, which includes provisions from my 2018 fire safety ten-minute rule Bill.

"If there is not clear progress, more action will be needed in the Building Safety Bill when it is considered later this year."