Government to fund vital cladding replacement

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has confirmed that approximately £200 million will be made available to remove and replace unsafe cladding from around 170 privately owned high-rise buildings.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire had previously said the bill should be footed by the owners, not the taxpayer, but has since acknowledged the long wait for remedial work to be carried out had caused anxiety and strain for people living in those high rises.

The government has already committed to funding replacement cladding in the social sector, although there are currently 23 blocks still covered in it. Announcing the funding, Prime Minister said that it was of ‘paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes’.

Brokenshire said: “Although temporary measures are in place to ensure people living in these buildings are safe, too many owners are treating this as a permanent fix. Others are trying to pass on the costs to residents by threatening them with bills running to thousands of pounds. While some building owners have been swift to act, and I thank them for doing the right thing, I am now calling time on the delay tactics of others. If these reckless building owners won’t act, the government will.”

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “This announcement will come as an enormous relief to leaseholders who are in no way to blame for the dangerous cladding on their homes. They have suffered for far too long. Since the LGA first raised their plight, we have been working with MHCLG to ensure the Treasury provided the necessary funding, and it is great that we have been listened to.

"Reputable developers have done the right thing and paid for buildings to be fixed, but it would be wrong if the taxpayer had to pay the bills of those developers and contractors who are responsible for this crisis.

“It is therefore right that, while the government has committed to cover the cost temporarily, it has also said it will do everything in its power to ensure those responsible for the installation of unsafe cladding and insulation on their buildings, or indeed their insurers, eventually pay the full cost for its removal and replacement.”