Just 12 tower blocks see dangerous cladding removed through £5bn fund
Just 12 buildings have had dangerous cladding removed with the aid of a £5bn government fund, which was created to fix thousands of risky tower blocks.
The Building Safety Fund was created in 2020 to help residents of blocks more than 18 metres tall with the removal of a certain type of hazardous cladding.
Some 3,191 buildings with non-composite material cladding (1,840 in London) had been registered with the fund by the end of November last year.
Work has begun at just 90 sites with only 12 completed, according to the latest government figures, which were first reported by the Evening Standard.
It has been four and a half years since the Grenfell tower fire killed 72 people in North Kensington, West London, despite prior warnings the building was unsafe.
Just 197 privately owned buildings with non-composite material cladding have had applications fully approved, with £549.8m allocated.
There have been an additional 41 full approvals and £70.m allocated to tower blocks with both composite and non-composite panels.
During November last year, a total of just £68m was allocated, the newspaper reported.
A spokesperson for the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Department said 97 per cent of high-rise residential buildings identified as having unsafe aluminium composite cladding in 2020 had been fully fixed or had works under way.
“Despite many building owners failing to provide the basic information required, we’ve processed over 700 applications to the Building Safety Fund,” they added.
Ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn budget last year, law firm Irwin Mitchell said £15bn would be required to fund remediation works.
The firm also called for measures including giving leaseholders up-front government funding for remediation works, with no repayment obligation.
Irwin Mitchell said access to funding for remediation works must be “made easier and faster,” with leaseholders having complained about the current process.
“It should be available for all dangerous buildings, regardless of height, covering those under 18m as well as those over,” the law firm added.
The government is also imposeing a four per cent cladding tax on developers with profits higher than £25m, to help raise cash for its £5bn fund.