Government forces developers to pay to fix cladding crisis

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has warned developers that they must pay to fix the cladding crisis that they caused as he overhauls the government’s approach to building safety.

Mr Gove has given the industry until early March to agree a fully funded plan of action all mentioned in his letter to the industry, asking companies to agree to:

  • Make financial contributions to a dedicated fund to cover the full outstanding cost to remediate unsafe cladding on 11-18m buildings, currently estimated to be £4 billion
  • Fund and undertake all necessary remediation of buildings over 11m that they have played a role in developing
  • Provide comprehensive information on all buildings over 11m which have historic safety defects and which they have played a part in constructing in the last 30 years.

He will take all steps necessary to make this happen, including restricting access to government funding and future procurements, the use of planning powers and the pursuit of companies through the courts. Mr Gove added that if the industry fails to take responsibility, the government will, if necessary, impose a solution in law.

The Secretary of State is also making an oral statement to the House of Commons announcing plans to protect innocent leaseholders, who are trapped in unsellable homes and face excessive bills to fix dangerous cladding defects.

Response: In response to the announcement, Councillor David Renard, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “No leaseholder should have to pay the costs of making their homes safe and the Secretary of State’s threat to use the legal system to ensure developers meet their responsibilities to leaseholders is a positive step in the right direction. However, leaseholders are not the only innocent victims of the construction industry’s failure to build safe homes.

“The construction industry must also be made to fix the fire safety defects it has built into blocks owned by councils and housing associations. Unless the government forces the industry to act – or provides funding – we are concerned that the costs of fixing social housing blocks will fall on council housing revenue accounts and housing associations.

“This will reduce the funding available to meet the government’s ambitions for improvements to social housing, net zero and the provision of new social housing, leaving tenants and those on the waiting list to suffer the consequences of decades of industry failure and poor regulation. Like leaseholders, council tenants and those on the waiting list are innocent victims and the government needs to help them too.”

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