We reported this morning that the UK government was set to announce new measures for helping owners of high-rise flats which have unsafe exterior cladding. This afternoon, the announcement has been made.
The government was expected to pledge around £5 billion to help owners replace dangerous cladding, but now that the announcement has arrived, we know the true number to be £3.5 billion.
Minister for Housing, Robert Jenrick, also said that ‘further loans for leaseholders to fix similar problems in shorter buildings, with maximum monthly repayments of £50 a month’ would be made available.
This means that those living with dangerous cladding on buildings between four and six storeys will not be covered by grants and will have to make do with the long-term, low-interest loans to fix their issues.
Speaking to fellow MPs, Jenrick said:
”I appreciate the frustration, the worry and at times the despair that [leaseholders] feel. I understand their anger at the errors, omissions, false promises and even the outright dishonesty that came before us, built up over many decades.”
Many were already concerned that a £5 billion relief fund would not cover the amount of work that needs doing, so £3.5 billion has been met with disappointment.
Labour has responded by saying that the measures ‘did not help fix fire safety problems’ which aren’t related to the cladding scandal exposed by the Grenfell Tower disaster and that by offering loans instead of grants on shorter buildings was an act on injustice for thousands of UK citizens.
We’ll bring you more updates as they arrive.