Cladding ‘task force’ still not running

Housing Secretary says a tougher approach to unsafe private sector blocks will start in the New Year.

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A government task force set up to make privately owned tower blocks safe has still not started work some six months on.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has conceded that the ‘task force’, or ‘joint expert inspection team’, was being established to support the next phase of work.

Officials subsequently admitted the ‘task force’ would not start work until next year.

In the Commons yesterday (6th Dec) Brokenshire was been challenged on the membership of the ‘task force’ by shadow housing secretary John Healey.

The ‘task force’ was announced in June to push the pace of repairs in the private sector, with the promise of a ‘joint expert inspection team’ to help councils with remediation of private sector high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding.

Only five of the 183 high-rise private apartment blocks found to have unsafe cladding have so far been repaired as disputes continue between freeholders and leaseholders over who should pay.

As reported by 24housing, stats published by MHCLG yesterday show many plans remain unclear even though buildings were considered unsafe.

The admission over the ‘task force’ comes just days after Brokenshire effectively lost patience with the private sector response and gave councils the power to strip out blocks themselves.

With hundreds of buildings still having ACM cladding, Healey has pressed government for a deadline by which removal should be complete.

MHCLG stands by the stats that show the number of private sector buildings where there is no plan or intent to replace cladding has fallen from over 200 to less than 70, maintaining the joint inspection team will start work in the new year focussed on outstanding cases.

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