UK Government to fund replacement of dangerous cladding on private tower blocks

Around £200 million will be made available to remove and replace unsafe cladding from around 170 privately owned high-rise buildings, the UK Government has announced.

UK Government to fund replacement of dangerous cladding on private tower blocks

The government said it has stepped in to speed up vital cladding replacement by fully funding the work, eliminating excuses used by some building owners and protecting leaseholders from the costs.

This step has been taken after private building owners failed to take action and tried to offload costs onto leaseholders.

The government has already fully funded the replacement of cladding in social housing developments.

However, private developers and freeholders have been too slow to act and leaseholders have been threatened with significant, often unaffordable, costs resulting in delays.

The latest figures show that 166 private buildings are yet to start works on removing and replacing ACM cladding, compared to 23 in the social sector.

Under the terms, building owners will have three months to access the new fund. The government said it will look carefully at those who fail to remediate and consider what further action can be taken.

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.”

Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP 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.”

Building owners and developers who have already fully funded the remediation of buildings include Pemberstone, Aberdeen Asset Management, Barratt Developments, Fraser Properties, Legal & General, Mace and Peabody.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: “Almost two years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it is quite frankly unacceptable that so many private tower blocks have been left with dangerous cladding, leaving thousands of people living in fear. Together with Inside Housing and many other organisations we have been calling on the government to end this scandal now - so today’s announcement from the Prime Minister is very welcome.”

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