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Government backs £200m ACM cladding crackdown in private buildings

Separate funding unveiled to replace ACM in high-rise private sector residential properties over concerns about a “reckless” lack of safety action by some building owners

The government has established a £200m fund to support the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding in privately owned high-rise buildings to address fears over material use.

A similar £400m funding programme was commenced last year to ensure cladding materials deemed as being unsafe following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 are no longer in use alongside a wider review of building safety.

Private Sector building owners and leaseholders will now be able to apply for money to fund or reimburse work to swap out aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding over fears that some developers and freeholders have failed to act quickly enough to address safety concerns. This has led to some leaseholders facing “significant, often unaffordable” bills for vital work on their properties.

166 of 176 private high-rise residential buildings that were identified by government as using ACM in their structures have yet to start replacing the material for alternative products, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). A total of 23 similar properties in the social housing sector have yet to start the same work by comparison.

MCHLG said in a statement, “Building owners will have 3 months to access the new fund. We will look carefully at those who fail to remediate and consider what further action can be taken.”

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said that government was concerned that temporary measures introduced to the 176 privately-owned buildings to ensure resident safety following the Grenfell Tower fire had been seen seen by a majority as a permanent fix to concerns about ACM.

He added, “Others are trying to pass on the costs to residents by threatening them with bills running to thousands of pounds.”

“While some building owners have been swift to act, and I thank them for doing the right thing, I am now calling time on the delay tactics of others. If these reckless building owners won’t act, the government will.”

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