Housing secretary Michael Gove is to tell the UK’s house building industry today that it must foot the estimated £4 billion bill to replace fire-risk cladding on thousands of towers across the UK.
Gove will say that the Government is to ‘expose and pursue’ companies who fitted flammable cladding to towers including the UK’s main house builders.
He is also expected to reveal new measures that will make it easier for the estimated 500,000 leaseholder caught up in the scandal to sell their homes.
Although government funding is already in place for taller towers over 18.5 metres, many leaseholders in medium-size towers remain trapped as huge remediation and other costs related to cladding mean home owners are unable to sell or re-mortgage their properties.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities which Gove leads has been under huge pressure from campaigners and MPs from across the political spectrum to help these leaseholders, many of whom have been forced to take out huge loans to pay for cladding remediation.
Gove is expected to tell house builders and cladding firms today that ‘we are coming for you’ and expects them to pay into a voluntary fund for buildings between 11m and 18.5 metres high.
Cladding campaigner Steve Day, who recently gave evidence to Parliament about the problems faced by leaseholders. told the BBC that he is ‘sceptical’ that a voluntary scheme will be signed off by builders’ shareholders, although if they dodge paying into the fund, Gove will tell MPs that ‘legal compulsion’ will follow.
Peter Redfern (pictured), Chief Executive of Taylor Wimpey, says the building industry needs to “get to grips with this issue – we shouldn’t be arguing about this so many years after the Grenfell tragedy and everybody now needs to play their part” and that his company would be contributing to the fund.