The Government has announced that an extra £3.5bn will be put towards removing dangerous cladding from high-rise buildings ‘at no cost to residents’. The measures announced include the offer of capped loans to leaseholders in smaller blocks.
Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary made the announcement in parliament today. The government will be giving an extra £3.5bn on top of the £1.6bn that has already put towards removing dangerous cladding so far.
Mr Jenrick stated that leaseholders in buildings above 18m will not bear the costs of cladding remediation. He went on the state that the measurers were the "largest ever government investment" in building safety.
For buildings under 18m, the government will create a new long-term and low interest loan scheme for leaseholders that need to remediate dangerous cladding. The loans will be spread over a number of years, with the government capping payments so leaseholders will never have to pay more than £50 a month.
Developer Levy to fix dangerous cladding
Jenrick stated that it "cannot be right the costs fall solely on tax payers", adding that the government will also be introducing a new levy levelled against developers seeking permission to build high-rise blocks in the future. The levy is expected to raise £2bn from the country’s largest developers in the next ten years, and will be used to fix historic fire safety defects.
Steps to mitigate the impact of cladding on the housing market will also be introduced. The government is encouraging banks and building societies to support the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors steps to try and reduce the number of buildings that require an EWS1 safety inspection to secure a mortgage.
Whether the announcement will be seen as sufficient by cladding campaign groups remains to be seen. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has estimated the total bill for fixing the building safety crisis could be £15bn. There was no mention of the costs that leaseholders in unsafe buildings are facing for waking watches and increased insurance premiums.
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