Nottingham reiterates post-Grenfell funding call

Nottingham City Council has repeated its request for the government to provide the £8.5 million necessary for post-Grenfell safety measures, as an independent national body backs the move.

The financial support would help fit sprinklers in the 13 residential tower blocks it owns, but has seen its calls for funding ignored.

In his November Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that ‘if any local authority cannot access funding to pay for essential fire safety work’, that the government ‘will not let financial constraints get in the way’. The council has therefore asked that, if government funding is not imminent, that the new Housing Minister allow the council to raise its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) debt cap by £8.5 million, to cover the interest on the additional £8.5 million the council will need to borrow for the works.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), who backs the call, has pointed out that under the current Prudential Code, councils can only take on borrowing which is ‘affordable, prudent and sustainable’.

Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “The government recognises the lifesaving benefits that sprinklers can provide, and has said money will not stand in in the way of vital safety work, but has so far turned down our requests for funding. We are now requesting that at the very least it adjusts our HRA debt cap so that other important housing improvements and developments – which the government also wants us to carry out – can still go ahead. We plan to move ahead with our programme of works in early spring and so we are seeking a swift response from government so we are clear on the funding arrangements.”