Government to ‘fully fund’ cladding removal and replacement

At PMQs Theresa May says some £400m should get the job done.

Upper_Grenfell_Tower

The government is ready to commit some £400m to fully fund removal and replacement of dangerous cladding on tower blocks.

Theresa May made the commitment at PMQs today in response to Bob Blackman asking for an update on the work done by the government on tower block safety.

May said: “Councils and housing associations must remove dangerous cladding quickly, but paying for these works must not undermine their ability to do important maintenance and repair work.

“And I’ve worked closely with my right honourable friends the chancellor and the housing secretary and I can today confirm that the government will fully fund the removal and replacement of dangerous cladding by councils and housing associations.”

The Commons heard the cost was estimated at £400m with housing minister Dominic Raab expected to set out further details later this week.

In the House, Blackman said as the first anniversary of the disaster approached too few of the Grenfell survivors had permanent home.

May said 210 households still needed accommodation and 101 have accepted housing.

A related Labour debate on this issue is due this afternoon (May 16).

Lord Porter, Local Government Association chairman, said: “While the priority for councils has been getting on with what they need to do to ensure people are safe in their homes following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the LGA has been involved in public and private conversations with the government about the financial implications.

“It is great that the government has honoured its commitment from last summer to meet the unexpected exceptional costs for councils arising from major remedial fire safety work on high-rise buildings.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The government are right to take responsibility and fund this work.

“Over the last year housing associations have been doing everything in their power to remove dangerous cladding from buildings as quickly as possible, even though this has often come at a huge cost to these not-for-profit organisations.

“Safety is always the primary concern of housing associations, so this unexpected work has meant money has been directed away from other key projects for their tenants.

“We have been seeking support from government so it is very welcome news that they will fully fund the removal and replacement of dangerous cladding.

“We look forward to hearing more detail about how the fund will work.”

Chartered Institute of Housing deputy chief executive, Gavin Smart, said: “Following the horrendous events at Grenfell Tower we have been calling on the government to provide financial support to help landlords make sure that buildings are safe, so we welcome the prime minister’s commitment to fully fund the removal and replacement of dangerous cladding by councils and housing associations.

“It means that social landlords will be able to carry out vital safety work without undermining their existing repairs and maintenance programmes or their work to build new homes.

“We look forward to seeing more detail on how the funding will be allocated.”

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