The new chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced a new £1bn Building Safety Fund for removing all unsafe cladding from residential buildings over 18m high. Although the detail is awaited, I anticipate this announcement will be generally welcomed across the construction and property sectors. What is already clear is that the fund will apply to removal and replacement of both ACM and other unsafe non-ACM cladding systems, and that the £1bn figure is on top of the £600 million already made available for ACM removal. The grant funding will be available to remediate high rise buildings in both the social and private residential sectors. Other details are not yet clear, including whether the fund will be available to remediate combustible insulation materials.
This reform is a significant step forward in ensuring the UK’s tall residential buildings are made safer. Many in the construction industry will welcome this as an appropriate Government response to the issue of unsafe cladding, the resolution of which simply cannot await the outcome of Grenfell Inquiry Phase 2. Leaseholders in problem blocks will be particular relieved to see this additional funding. As the fund is clearly intended to apply to the removal and replacement of both ACM and other non-ACM cladding systems, the measure is far reaching. The new Housing Minister Robert Jenrick will be able to chalk this one up as a win, in a budget that massively contrasted with the era of austerity under Cameron and May's chancellors.
Building owners have no excuse for not ensuring their residents are safe in their homes, and I will continue holding them to account.
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government