Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove is writing to property developers to say that they have until March to agree a system of payments to fix dangerous cladding on intermediate tall buildings.
Mr Gove has written to the residential property developer industry giving a deadline of early March to agree a fully funded plan of action including the replacement of unsafe cladding on buildings between 11 metres and 18 metres high, at a cost currently estimated to be £4bn.
Mr Gove has said that developers must pay to fix the cladding crisis that they caused as he overhauls the government’s approach to building safety.
He has repeated previous ministerial threats that developers who refuse to pay for cladding fixes could face difficulty getting access to government funding and future procurements.
In his letter to the property industry, Mr Gove says: “It is neither fair nor decent that innocent leaseholders, many of whom have worked hard and made sacrifices to get a foot on the housing ladder, should be landed with bills they cannot afford to fix problems they did not cause.
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of British Safety Council said: “Today’s announcement is a positive step forward as it will hopefully take the burden off many thousands of leaseholders facing large costs to replace unsafe cladding. It is also of course right that the construction industry continues to play its part in helping to resolve these issues.
“The Government must also shoulder its own responsibilities, having overseen the regulatory framework that led to Grenfell and other similar tragedies. We need to see all sides taking a positive and constructive approach to discussions between now and March.
“The sad truth is the funds announced today may also not go far enough. They will not pay leaseholders’ costs for other issues beyond cladding that aren’t included in these plans, such as balconies on a building that have been built with flammable material.
“The Grenfell fire showed how broad the building safety crisis is, spanning not just construction but design, manufacturing, fire safety and building management. However, there is no excuse for it having taken over four and half years to get to this point and these other issues also need to be approached with urgency.”