In a surprise announcement the government said it will fully
fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and
housing associations, estimated at £400 million.
The announcement was made jointly by
Chancellor Philip Hammond and Housing Secretary James Brokenshire
on the 16 May - the day prior to the publication of Dame Judith
Hackitt's report into the review of building regulations and fire
Local authorities and housing associations will be given access
to the money to help with the reasonable costs of removing and
replacing unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from
buildings which they own.
Until now the Government had refused to offer any form of grant
for this work saying only that they would only consider, in
exceptional circumstances, the offer of financial flexibilities to
assist local authorities with essential fire safety work.
Senior officials at the Ministry for Housing, Communities &
Local Government (MHCLG) have been in touch with ARCH following the
announcement and we understand that this grant will only be
available to meet 100% of the reasonable costs of removing and
replacing unsafe ACM cladding and will not be available for other
essential fire safety measures for which the possibility of
financial flexibilities will remain open.
Ministry officials have told ARCH that they will set out further
details shortly about how councils and housing associations can
apply for funding, including conditions attached to the grant,
although ARCH has been assured that the application process will be
simple and straightforward.
ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby welcomed this announcement
"ARCH has always been of the view that the Government has a
shared responsibility for the systemic failings in the construction
industry and the system of building regulation that have led to the
need for councils and other landlords to carry out essential fire
safety works identified following the Grenfell fire and that the
government should therefore assist councils in meeting the costs of
such works through some form of grant funding.
We have lobbied for the offer of grant assistance with
essential fire safety works and we very much welcome this
announcement of a fund of £400million to meet the cost of removal
and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding and we hope the government
will also now consider offering grants for other essential fire
safety works to high rise residential buildings identified by local
authorities following the Grenfell fire."