10 Feb 2021

CIH responds to Robert Jenrick's building safety funding announcement

In Parliament today (Wednesday 10 February 2021), housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the government would provide £3.5bn towards removing dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings taller than 18m. For buildings under 18m, a new long-term, low-interest loan scheme is being created for leaseholders in buildings where dangerous cladding needs to be removed. 

Responding to the announcement, CIH chief executive Gavin Smart said: 

“We welcome the additional £3.5 billion for the replacement of unsafe cladding on high-rise residential building. This new money will provide much needed certainty for leaseholders of high-rise accommodation, who were concerned about how to pay for this work.

“But sadly it will not be enough. In fact replacing all the unsafe cladding across the social and private rented sector in England will cost around £15 billion.

“The funding announced today will also only cover cladding on buildings over 18 metres. That really should be extended to apply to all buildings with unsafe cladding, whatever their height.

“We need more details on the proposal to introduce long-term loans for leaseholders who live in buildings between 11 and 18 metres. While it caps repayment at £50 per month, it is unclear whether the total amount will be capped. In any case it is unlikely that this scheme will deal with the pressing issue of leaseholders finding themselves in negative equity right now.

“It is disappointing that today’s announcement does not address the costs associated with the additional remedial work, in addition to replacing unsafe cladding, required to make buildings safe now. This is estimated at more than £16 billion. The government needs to address this is as a priority, as it is not fair that these costs should be passed onto leaseholders.”