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MICHAEL GOVE was warned today that plans to force developers to pay £4 billion to fix dangerous cladding on low-rise flats do not go far enough.
In a letter to the residential property development industry today, the Housing Secretary set a deadline of early March for it to publicly accept the ultimatum and provide a “fully funded plan of action.”
The proposal forces developers to deal with the scandal, which has left leaseholders stuck in unsafe and unsellable homes. It would protect leaseholders in buildings between 11 metres and 18m tall from having to take out loans to cover the costs of remedial work to their cladding.
However, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said that the announcement still left residents “desperately short of where they need to be" more than four years after the Grenfell Tower disaster and does not cover all fire safety failings in buildings of this height.
The union also warned that it was still not clear that £4 billion would be enough to cover the cost of repairs.
The Local Government Association, representing 350 councils across England and Wales, also called for the plans to be extended to cover social housing blocks as well as private properties.
It warned that without this guarantee, councils and housing associations would have to foot the bill out of their depleted budgets, with tenants and those on waiting lists left to suffer the consequences.
Councillor David Renard, the association’s housing spokesman, said: “Leaseholders are not the only innocent victims of the construction industry’s failure to build safe homes.
“The construction industry must also be made to fix the fire safety defects it has built into blocks owned by councils and housing associations.
“Unless the government forces the industry to act – or provides funding – we are concerned that the costs of fixing social housing blocks will fall on council housing revenue accounts and housing associations.
“Like leaseholders, council tenants and those on the waiting list are innocent victims and the government needs to help them too.”
Developers insisted that they should not be solely responsible for the costs.
Home Builders Federation executive chairman Stewart Baseley accepted that leaseholders should not have to pay for the repairs but baulked at the prospect of developers having to cover the costs alone.
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