The Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017 revealed the inherent dangers of a widely used composite core cladding system when fitted to high-rise buildings. It resulted in a national programme of cladding replacement but progress has been mixed in both the public and private sector amid funding difficulties.
Interim safety measures are in place in all affected buildings but latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government show that while urgent cladding replacement has started on 104 social housing buildings, there are still 54 where remedial works have yet to start, nearly a year after the fire that killed 71 people.
The government has now said that it will pay the bills of local authorities and housing associations, estimated at £400m, to remove the uncertainty about funding.
The Ministry of Housing said: “The fund follows the government’s offer last year of financial flexibilities to assist local authorities with essential fire safety work. From conversations with social sector landlords, it has become apparent that they are having to take decisions about how to prioritise important services, repairs and maintenance work and investment in new homes.
“The government has listened to their concerns, discussed the issue in Cabinet, and decided that, although social landlords have made good progress on replacing unsafe cladding, it is right to provide further support. It is therefore today announcing additional funding for the social sector. It recognises the tough decisions that are being made to carry out fire safety work as well as the potential impact on other services.”