My colleague, the Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick MP, has moved forward the Government’s important new Five-Point Plan to remove unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings, in the form of a multi-billion pound intervention. As someone who personally worked on the Building Safety Bill, I know this is a matter of great worry for people across the country, and I have had plenty of correspondence from constituents on this, which I have been relaying to my colleagues in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government over the last few weeks.
This new plan will take shape around an unprecedented £5 billion investment in building safety, including £3.5 billion announced yesterday (10 February 2021). It also includes the following steps:
- The government will fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres (6 storeys) and over in England.
- This will ensure funding is targeted at the highest risk buildings in line with longstanding independent expert advice and evidence.
- Lower-rise buildings, with a lower risk to safety, will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal with a generous new scheme offered to buildings between 11 and 18 metres. This will pay for cladding removal – where it is needed – through a long-term, low interest, government-backed financing arrangement.
- Under the scheme, no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding, providing reassurance and security to leaseholders, and mortgage providers can be confident that where cladding removal is needed, properties will be worth lending against.
My colleagues in MHCLG are also working with the industry to reduce the need for EWS1 forms, preventing leaseholders from facing delays and allowing hundreds of thousands of homes to be sold, bought, or re-mortgaged once again. There are also plans to introduce a, ‘Gateway 2’ developer levy, which will be targeted and apply when developers seek permission to develop certain high-rise buildings in England.
In addition, a new tax will be introduced for the UK residential property development sector. This will raise at least £2 billion over a decade to help pay for cladding remediation costs, ensuring the largest property developers make a fair contribution to the remediation programme, reflecting the benefit they will derive from restoring confidence to the UK housing market. The government will consult on the policy design in due course.
Finally, it has been announced we will bring forward further important legislation this year to tighten the regulation of building safety and to review the construction products regime to prevent malpractice arising again, protecting the generations to come.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said the following during his statement to the House of Commons this week:
“This is a comprehensive plan to remove unsafe cladding, support leaseholders, restore confidence to this part of the housing market and ensure this situation never arises again. Our unprecedented intervention means the hundreds of thousands of leaseholders who live in higher-rise buildings will now pay nothing towards the cost of removing unsafe cladding.
“Remedying the failures of building safety cannot just be a responsibility for taxpayers. That is why we will also be introducing a levy and tax on developers to contribute to righting the wrongs of the past. These measures will provide certainty to residents and lenders, boosting the housing market, reinstating the value of properties and getting buying and selling homes back on track. We are working with lenders and surveyors to make this happen.
“Our landmark intervention will make homes safer and free those who did the right thing – saving for years to get on the property ladder – to enjoy the homes in which they have invested so much.”
The full statement can be found here:https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-10/debates/010B9751-BCBE-…
I hope this welcome news will provide reassurance to all those affected homeowners and leaseholders, who have had to live in a home where they don’t feel safe, in these times where everyone is being asked to isolate at home, my heart goes out to all those affected.
I would also encourage you to read my thoughts on the recent Opposition Day debate on Leaseholders and Cladding: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/leaseholders-and-cladding-opposition-day-debate