Government urged to foot £15bn bill to fix unsafe cladding

Phil Spencer is calling on the government to take control of the growing cladding crisis by providing the funds required to fix the situation.

Three years on from the tragic Grenfell fire, an estimated 2,000 high risk residential buildings still have combustible cladding on them, and the problem simply needs to end sooner rather than later, according to the TV property expert.

He says the government must pay the £15bn bill to renovate up to 1.5m residential properties with unsafe cladding.

A number of people purchased properties unaware that they were covered in dangerous materials, and simply now cannot afford to cover the replacement costs.

It was revealed last week that 30,000 flat sales may have collapsed due to potentially unsafe cladding, and experts are warning that the number could hit six figures if ministers do not step in.

Spencer said the crisis had brought the housing market to a standstill for those home owners because affected properties are often starter homes that would otherwise appeal to first-time buyers.

He commented: “It means the starter flat is removed from the housing market. The bottom rung of the property ladder is broken and that affects everybody because nobody can move on and starter homes are not available to first time buyers.

“It’s a real mess. The government have to step in because they can’t leave it alone.

“If forced to pay the costs, householders will go bankrupt left, right and centre, and the housing market will break.

“The longer this goes on, the greater the damage. But the situation can be cleared up quickly. Government funding promised so far of £1.6bn doesn’t touch the sides of the problem.”

Many buildings found to have fire safety problems have been built with other types of cladding than the aluminium composite panels used at Grenfell Tower, or have wooden panels or balconies.

Spencer said: “The government has a duty to step in and help, and sort out the money afterwards – whether through insurers or through the courts.”

He added: “They [property buyers] bought the properties in good faith, many of them using government schemes like Help to Buy.

“The flats were built under government regulations, which have turned out not to be up to scratch.”

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7 Comments

  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    It goes without saying the cladding should be made safe, but should it be paid for by tax payers?

     

    We’re already facing a £250 billion bill for coronavirus and this could double as we head into winter and more local bailouts for firms and employees. This is more important than a few energy performance upgrades and a loan scheme to pay for cladding might be more helpful.

     

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  2. AgencyInsider

    The people who should pay are the manufacturers (if they said it was suitable for high rise cladding) and/or the architects/consultants who specified the unsuitable product.

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  3. jan - byers

    Idiot – why do so many people think the govt have a bottomless pit of money – why do so many people think that the govt and taxpayer  are  responsible for every thing that goes wrong in their lives

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  4. Colin Adiuvo

    Whilst I agree there is no bottomless pit surely this one does come down to the government, IMO building control are the party responsible for this and they failed time and time again. They are there to protect against exactly this, their self described role is;

    “The primary function of the Building Control service is to protect people’s health and safety in the built environment”

    and to ensure building regs adhered to, the fact that so many of these building are unsafe is their responsibility – huge argument to be had about whether they are well funded and can actually carry out their work properly (no in my opinion) but that’s also a government  issue.

    The only other possible responsible party is the developers or contractors not building or refurbishing to building regs – but if these works are signed off by building control then where do you go because at that point legally they have certification the building is safe. Perhaps for future this can be looked at but for all current issues the only imperative is goodwill/PR.

    Huge issue for the market as so many people cant move as their flats now require EWS1.

     

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    1. Tegs Dad

      Perhaps Phil and yourself could put your hands in your pockets? The government HAS NO MONEY – it comes from the taxpayers! As alwaysanagent says the cost of coronavirus has yet to be paid BY TAXPAYERS. Where do you and Phil believe taxpayers will find this money?

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      1. Colin Adiuvo

        Whilst I realise there is a lack of money it is a case of prioroties and thousands of those tax payers are now living with unsafe buildings via an issue of the governments cause.  The level of the problem and possible results was shown by Grenfell (we are not just talking a financial danger) and surely one of a countries foremost duties is to protect the people especially if they are in that position by no fault of their own.  The money would have to be borrowed and could be raised by a levy on future developments. 
         

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