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Government hands out £248m to replace Grenfell-style cladding

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The government has released £248 million to fund the replacement of dangerous ACM cladding on social housing blocks across the country

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) confirmed it had awarded its first tranche of funding to social landlords to replace cladding on 135 buildings.

The money will come out of the £400 million fund announced by the prime minister in May to pay for social housing recladding, and will be distributed between 12 councils and 31 housing associations across the UK.

Applications for funds have been received from owners of 159 blocks, with the government rejecting 12 bids relating to buildings deemed ineligible for funds.

Reasons for these rejections include buildings being under the 18m height threshold, being owned by commercial freeholders, or not containing any ACM cladding.

The government has requested extra information regarding a further 12 blocks.

As part of the agreement, the government has pledged to pay social landlords 80 per cent of the estimated costs up front and the remaining 20 per cent when work is completed and the final costs are known.

According to government figures from September, a total of 159 social-sector blocks had been found to have dangerous ACM cladding since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017.

The government has said that recladding work has started on 75 per cent of these blocks, with the remaining 25 per cent having plans in place for remedial works.

In addition, 205 private residential blocks over 18m high have been found to include ACM cladding. Only two of these blocks have seen cladding fully removed, with work starting on a further 12.

Earlier this week, housebuilder Bellway became only the fifth company to publicly agree to pay for the costs of recladding on ‘a small number of its developments’. 

Barratt, Legal & General, Mace and Taylor Wimpey are the other developers to agree to cover the costs of recladding, while housing association Peabody has also pledged to protect its residents from replacement costs.

Commenting on the release of funds, housing secretary James Brokenshire said: ‘There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their homes and that is why I am pleased the £400 million funding has started to be released.

‘We are doing the right thing by residents and fully funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding in social housing buildings 18m or above.

‘In the private sector, I want to see landlords protect leaseholders from these costs. I am pleased that a number have stepped forward to do so, including Barratt Developments, Legal & General, Taylor Wimpey, Mace and Peabody.

’However, there are some who are not engaging in this process. If they don’t, I have ruled nothing out.’

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