Last reviewed 14 January 2022

It is almost a year since the then Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the Government would pay for the removal of unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in high-rise buildings (see Government commits to bringing an end to unsafe cladding).

It became clear in the interim that this would not end the problems of thousands of leaseholders, particularly in buildings below 18 metres in height.

However, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has now confirmed a new tougher approach to the problem.

As part of his overhaul of the Government’s approach to building safety, he has warned developers that they must “pay to fix the cladding crisis that they caused”.

In a letter available here, Mr Gove has given the industry a deadline of early March to agree a fully-funded plan of action.

This includes remediation for unsafe cladding on 11 to 18 metre buildings, currently estimated to cost £4 billion.

They must fund and undertake all necessary remediation of buildings over 11 metres that they have played a role in developing and provide comprehensive information on all buildings over 11 metres which have historic safety defects and which they have played a part in constructing in the last 30 years.

Mr Gove warns that he will take all steps necessary to make this happen, including restricting access to government funding and future procurements, the use of planning powers and the pursuit of companies through the courts.

The Secretary of State adds that, if industry fails to take responsibility, the Government will if necessary impose a solution in law.

He has also promised to unveil a package of measures to restore common sense to the industry and to end the situation of “buildings being declared unsafe when they are not”.

“It is neither fair nor decent that innocent leaseholders, many of whom have worked hard and made sacrifices to get a foot on the housing ladder, should be landed with bills they cannot afford to fix problems they did not cause,” Mr Gove said.

The Government will announce a decision on which companies are in scope for funding contributions following discussions with the industry but expects it to cover all firms with annual profits from housebuilding at or above £10 million.