£200m fund for private blocks cladding replacement
The government has announced that it will make £200m available to remove and replace unsafe cladding from around 170 privately owned high-rise blocks, where building owners have failed to do so.
In an announcement today, communities secretary James Brokenshire said he would call time on “reckless” building owners who have failed to take action.
Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the government identified 176 private high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding. But according to the most recent data compiled by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, only 10 of these buildings have completed work to replace the cladding.
The government will fully fund the urgent replacement of aluminium composite material (ACM) on private high-rise buildings where it has not yet been replaced. As a condition of funding, which will be open for three months, the government will require the building owner to take “reasonable steps” to recover the costs from those responsible for the presence of the unsafe cladding.
It said the move would “eliminate excuses used by some building owners” and protect leaseholders from the costs.
Prime minister Theresa May said: “It is of paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes. That’s why we asked building owners in the private sector to take action and make sure appropriate safety measures were in place.
“And we’ve seen a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the costs of removal and replacement to leaseholders.
“Today I can confirm we will now be fully funding the replacement of cladding on high-rise private residential buildings so residents can feel confident they are secure 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.”
The government has already fully funded similar work in social housing developments but said private developers and freeholders have been too slow to act, while leaseholders have been threatened with footing the bill for the costs, resulting in delays.
Building owners and developers who have already fully funded the remediation of buildings are Pemberstone, Aberdeen Asset Management, Barratt Developments, Fraser Properties, Legal & General, Mace and Peabody.