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Source – 12 March 2020

Government is starting to give details on the new fund for removal of unsafe non-ACM cladding while turning up the heat on the private sector to “get it done”. 

Criteria carried over from Brokenshire’s £200m ACM include the fund being for buildings over 18m and the requirement for building owners to pursue warranty claims and appropriate action against those responsible for putting unsafe cladding on these buildings, which will be repaid to government once recouped.

Stakeholders are pretty unanimous in the view that £1bn won’t be enough, so the question is ‘who gets the money?’ Shared between social and private sectors, the detail over how funding is distributed and prioritised is going to be key. This could be a case of the early birds getting the worms. 

Meanwhile, for those struggling to get their building fixed, government is clear, saying “If building owners continue to fail in their responsibility to remediate unsafe cladding systems, despite this additional funding, the government will not hesitate to encourage and support enforcement action through local authorities and fire and rescue services using their powers under the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. These enforcement powers, including the changes we are making through the Fire Safety Bill, and additional funding announced for the fire and rescue services in the Budget, will help ensure owners remediate their buildings at pace”. 

The fund does not apply to buildings under 18m. Following the bringing into scope of such buildings (rightly, on balance) the challenge of funding remediation on buildings such as The Qube in Bolton and the Barking balconies remains.

£1bn is very welcome and we’re pleased government has stepped up and stepped forward. It is simply that this will not cure all.