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Government Announces Cladding Plans

Developers have been given an early March deadline to create a fully funded plan of action to help the cladding crisis, with further measures to be put in place by the Government.

The announcement from Michael Gove MP at the House of Commons this afternoon (10 January) said he is giving developers the chance to ‘do the right thing’ or he would ‘impose in law’ ways to make them pay for the cladding crisis.

So far residents in blocks 11-18m high haven’t been eligible for government support to remove unsafe cladding, instead being offered loans to shoulder the often eye-watering cost – but this scheme is now scrapped, along with further measures to ease the standstill for leaseholders affected by surveys, insurers and market uncertainty as a result of the crisis.

The plans have been welcomed as a step in the right direction by the Law Society of England and Wales.

The devastating Grenfell Tower fire and subsequent public inquiry exposed the widespread use of hazardous cladding.

I. Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society, said:  “We have been raising concerns for some time now that leaseholders, who live in unsafe buildings through no fault of their own, are bearing the brunt of the costs of cladding remediation. We argued that the government should remove the block height restriction on eligibility for financial support available to leaseholders for cladding remediation and are pleased to see this step now being taken for 11-18 metre buildings. The restriction of financial support to those in the tallest blocks unfairly deprived leaseholders in small and medium-sized blocks of any remedy and left them significantly out of pocket for a problem not of their own making.

They added: “We urge the government to go further and remove the height restriction completely, so that leaseholders in blocks of any height can access financial support. We welcome plans for developers responsible for dangerous building defects to pay for works to rectify these defects, which we have called for. If developers cannot reach a consensus on how to play their part, then they should be legally obliged to do so.”