New plans reveal that flat owners will not have to pay to remove dangerous cladding from lower-height buildings, following a major climbdown of government commitments, according to BBC Newsnight.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce that leaseholders in buildings of between 11 and 18.5m will no longer be expected to take out personal loans to cover the cost of the work.
The government will instead try to secure up to £4bn from developers towards the costs.
If this is not possible, the funding may need to come out of the housing department’s budget.
In a new package of measures, Gove is expected to tell the Commons next week that if developers choose not to pay for cladding removals voluntarily the government will threaten them with legal action.
Previously, the government had committed up to £5bn for the removal of dangerous cladding for buildings taller than 18.5m.
However, BBC Newsnight have reported that no new Treasury funding has been secured for this work and the cost of the extra cladding removal must not exceed £4bn.
Following the Grenfell fire, which killed a reported 72 people in 2017, there has been a push to remove flammable cladding and other fire safety defects from buildings across the UK.
The government’s new proposed plans have already been questioned.
Senior Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform, has criticised the move.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “From what we’re hearing, progress is being made – it’s not enough.”
Bottomley added: “We need to get the money, spend it properly, and we need to overcome the hurdle” of indemnity funding so landlords can make claims from developers and manufacturers.”