England: First tranche of £400m unsafe cladding fund released

James Brokenshire

The UK Government has released funding to remove and replace unsafe cladding on high-rise homes in England owned by social landlords.

A total of £248 million has been released to 12 councils and 31 housing associations for the removal and replacement of unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from 159 high-rise buildings (defined as 18 metres or higher).

The money is the first tranche of funding released from the estimated £400m announced by Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year and means councils and housing associations can make their properties safe without having an impact on their other vital services.

The government said: “80% of the estimated costs will be provided upfront to ensure work can start with no delay.

“The work will be closely monitored by the government and the remaining 20% will paid once work is complete and the final costs are known.”

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government established a comprehensive building safety programme that included an independent review of fire safety and building regulations.

The government response to this review confirmed, following consultation, a ban on the use of combustible materials on all residential high-rise buildings above 18 metres so that people are safe in their homes now, and in the future. Full details of the ban and how the recommendations of the Hackitt review will be implemented will be published later this year.

The latest figures show over 75% of social housing buildings with unsafe ACM cladding are currently removing and replacing it, with plans in place for the remaining 25%. Interim fire safety measures are in place in all affected buildings to keep residents safe until the cladding has been replaced.

Secretary of state for communities, James Brokenshire, said: “There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their homes and that is why I am pleased the £400m funding has started to be released.

“We are doing the right thing by residents and fully funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding in social housing buildings 18 metres or above.

“In the private sector, I want to see landlords protect leaseholders from these costs. I am pleased that a number have stepped forward to do so, including Barratt Developments, Legal & General, Taylor Wimpey, Mace and Peabody.

“However, there are some who are not engaging in this process. If they don’t, I have ruled nothing out.”

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