Budget 2020: £1bn fund to remove ‘all unsafe’ cladding from tall buildings after Grenfell tragedy

Chancellor bows to pressure to go further than stripping out aluminium composite material only

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 11 March 2020 15:29
Budget 2020: All unsafe flammable cladding to be removed from tower blocks

A £1bn fund will pay for the removal of “all unsafe combustible cladding” from high-rise buildings following the Grenfell tragedy, the chancellor promised.

Rishi Sunak bowed to pressure to go further than stripping out only the aluminium composite material (ACM) placed around the London tower block where 72 people died.

The new cash would “make sure all unsafe combustible cladding will be removed from every private and social residential building above 18m high”, he told MPs.

However, he appeared to admit that developers and building owners would also need to “give their fair share as well”, for the pledge to be fulfilled.

The move comes after growing pressure on the government to help residents trapped in homes encased in similar – but not the same – cladding as Grenfell Tower.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, had been among people calling for action, saying earlier: “Almost three years after Grenfell, no resident should face big bills to remove and replace dangerous cladding on their home.

“A big test of this Budget is action to get this work done and end the cladding scandal.”

During his speech, Mr Sunak announced that the £600m set aside last year for stripping out ACM cladding would be added to.

“Two and a half years on, we’re still grappling with the tragic legacy of the Grenfell Tower disaster,” he said.

“Expert advice is clear that new public funding must concentrate on removing unsafe materials from high-rise residential buildings. So, today, I am creating a new Building Safety Fund worth £1bn.”

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