Further £3.5bn made available by Government for remediation of unsafe cladding
17th February 2021
17th February 2021
Last week, the Government announced a ‘5-point plan’ backed with £3.5bn of funding, said “to bring an end to unsafe cladding”.
The plan includes :-
Government funding for the removal of unsafe cladding for leaseholders in ALL residential buildings 18 metres and over (6 storeys) in England;
A long-term, low interest, government-backed finance scheme available for cladding removal from buildings between 11 and 18 metres (4 to 6 storeys), with a commitment that leaseholders of such buildings never pay more than £50 a month for cladding removal;
An industry levy and tax to ensure developers ‘play their part’. The proposed levy will apply when developers seek permission to develop certain high-rise buildings in England, and the new tax will be introduced for the UK residential property development sector to raise at least £2bn over a decade to help pay for cladding remediation costs;
A ‘world-class’ new safety regime to ensure a tragedy like Grenfell never happens again; and
Providing confidence to this part of the housing market including lenders and surveyors.
The Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said last week:
“Remedying the failures of building safety cannot just be a responsibility for taxpayers. That is why we will also be introducing a levy and tax on developers to contribute to righting the wrongs of the past.
These measures will provide certainty to residents and lenders, boosting the housing market, reinstating the value of properties and getting buying and selling homes back on track. We are working with lenders and surveyors to make this happen.
Our landmark intervention will make homes safer and free those who did the right thing – saving for years to get on the property ladder – to enjoy the homes in which they have invested so much.”
The announcement has not been met with universal support. It is understood that funding will only cover the removal costs of unsafe cladding, and so will not extend to other remediation measures or works that may be required to put the building safe, or any interim mitigation measures (although some, limited, assistance may be available through the new Waking Watch Relief Fund).
The plan also provides only limited assistance to leaseholders of buildings between 11 and 18 metres, with the Government recognising the finance scheme will be ‘long term’ at the rate of £50 per month, which will be payable in addition to leaseholders’ usual service charge commitments under their leases. By comparison, no such assistance is available for leaseholders of buildings under 11 metres.
However, the Government says that the plan will ensure that funding is targeted at the highest risk buildings in line with expert advice and evidence, and with Home Office analysis of fire and rescue service statistics showing buildings between 18 and 30 metres are four times as likely to suffer a fire with fatalities or serious casualties than apartment buildings in general.
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