A scandal affecting hundreds of Bradford homeowners could snowball further if action is not taken, MPs have warned.

Branded a “scandal within a scandal”, the district is home to many victims who were faced with huge legal bills after ‘no win no fee’ legal firm, SSB Law, collapsed in late 2023.

The victims were pursuing compensation after claiming inappropriate cavity wall insulation was installed at their homes using the Government’s green homes grants.

The claimants alleged that the work caused long-lasting issues with damp and mould at thousands of homes.

But homeowners faced an even bigger shock when they received a bill for court fees not paid when SSB Law collapsed.

The demands were sent out by insurers of SSB Law last winter.

The real life impact of SSB Law’s collapse and issues with damp and mould was revealed at an event in London organised by the Bradford East MP Imran Hussain on Tuesday and attended by the Telegraph & Argus.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Victims of the SSB Law scandal held a protest outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on TuesdayVictims of the SSB Law scandal held a protest outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on Tuesday (Image: T&A)

Figures show more than 10,000 people in the UK have been affected - although the true number of victims is expected to be a lot higher, Labour MP Imran Hussain suggested.

A high number of the victims were already vulnerable and living with lung conditions such as COPD and asthma, mental health conditions, learning disabilities, or did not speak English as their first language.

Ahead of the event, Bradford South MP Judith Cummins told Parliament she was “meeting constituents who were encouraged by the solicitors firm SSB Law to pursue ‘no win, no fee’ claims against... cavity wall insulation providers.

“SSB Law subsequently went into administration, leaving my constituents with extortionate legal costs from defendant lawyers,” she told the House.

In response, the Minister of Justice Alex Chalk said he would write to Ms Cummins.

Mr Hussain later added: “It has now been estimated that there are more than 10,000 victims of the SSB Law scandal. We are hosting an event to listen to those victims talk - I extend an invitation to the Minister. Will he commit to my asks of real compensation and protection for the victims of what is now a national scandal?”

Mr Chalk said he would consider the invitation and “respond in due course”.

The Minister did not attend the meeting.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Yusef, of Blackburn, pictured, is facing a £30,000 charge on his house due to the legal issuesYusef, of Blackburn, pictured, is facing a £30,000 charge on his house due to the legal issues (Image: T&A)

In one case, Bradford resident Ailsa received a letter ordering her to pay £40,000 for SSB Law’s failed trial, shortly after the company went into administration.

Across the table were photos of mould-infested properties, including one showing almost an entire wall of the black fungus at another Bradford house.

One elderly woman from the district had reported issues with unsuitable cavity wall insulation at her property since 2017.

She then received a bill for more than £15,500 and “threatening letters saying bailiffs were coming,” according to a SSB Law Action Group spokesperson.

Sharing emotional quotes from Gwen, she said: “Life is hard enough without this. The Government need to put the house back to how it was.”

There were tears shed as victims bravely spoke about their ordeal.

Sharon, who lives in Burnley, said: “This has been the worst situation I’ve ever found myself in. In January I got a letter through the post telling me I had four weeks to pay £17,000. To say I was terrified doesn’t even touch it. I’m a single parent. My eldest is neurodiverse. My youngest is waiting to be diagnosed. When I got that through my door my life crashed. I could lose my house.

“I’ve had three months off work because I’m having three hours sleep a night. I’m afraid, this is my children’s security, my security, it could all fall down the drain.”

Damian Mercer, an expert who has been removing faulty and unnecessary cavity wall insulation from properties across Bradford and West Yorkshire, said quotes for removal range from £2,500 to £58,000 and depend on the type used.

He urged the Government to toughen up regulation to stop unqualified businesses from capitalising on the situation.

That was just one of many calls echoed by Mr Hussain and Ms Cummins, victims in the SSB Law Action Group, and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

“Many questions remain unanswered at the moment,” Mr Hussain told the T&A.

“The Government has a responsibility but there have been a catalogue of failures. The Green fuel and insulation schemes are a very good thing, the aim of those schemes is to save energy in a green way and they elevate some of the most vulnerable. The majority of them have been very successful. We are talking about the minority of them that haven’t been. In these cases, what’s been exposed is there hasn’t been all the safety nets. Whether it’s through legislation or regulation it needs to be addressed. The Government must act now.

“The issue for families today is how they are compensated, how the extortionate fees are withdrawn.”