By Harry Scoffin
17,000 households still live in privately-owned apartment blocks with dangerous cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower, the FT has revealed.
Citing recently released government figures, the paper reported that the costs of remediation of only 97 buildings with ACM cladding in the private sector will be met by developers or freeholders.
Of the 97 buildings where leaseholders or taxpayers are protected from the cladding bills, work has been completed on just 15. Remediation is understood to be underway in another 25.
Up to 17,000 households still live in privately owned apartment blocks with dangerous cladding similar to the Grenfell Tower – despite a government scheme aimed at making the buildings safe.
The government data published on Wednesday does not make a distinction between developers, who have a reputation to protect and may still hold the freehold to the cladding sites, and the secretive investors who have subsequently taken over ownership of the blocks for their income streams.
The FT story highlights Robert Jenrick’s “threat” to “name and shame” the “building owners” (often offshore entities and shell companies) as many are holding back the remediation of their buildings, despite £200m of taxpayer money being pledged to pay for the works.
The stifling bureaucracy surrounding the government-backed ACM cladding fund is referenced, with the 100% sign-off threshold still denying financial assistance to cladding sites which do not have full owner-occupation.
Regarding the controversial EU State Aid declaration form, the FT quotes UK Action Cladding Group representative Ritu Saha:
“I do not believe a single building will be able to complete the application process on time.”
“There is an extreme level of anxiety. There are elderly people, people with babies, who are constantly worried about what happens if fire breaks out in the middle of the night. This has come at huge financial cost to all of us. People are reaching breaking point,” she added.
Of the 184 private cladding sites with Grenfell-style combustibles, leaseholders of just 14 of them have managed to submit their applications to the housing ministry ahead of next month’s deadline.