The cladding scandal rumbled on today some three and a half years after the tragic events of Grenfell.
It really is quite extraordinary that only now are we seeing some more action by the Government, in the form of an additional £3.5 billion funding.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, in a statement to the House, outlined the following announcements:
- No resident would bear any cost for removal of cladding on high rise blocks above 18 meters
- Owners of lower-rise blocks would access long-term loans they would have to pay up to £50 per month for towards the removal of cladding
- There would be a new tax on property development from 2022
- There would also be a new levy on developers of high rise blocks in the future
As such, my comments on the cladding scandal and the announcement today were probably predictable, but please feel free to let me know if you think I am being too harsh.
Andrew Montlake, Managing Director at the UK-wide mortgage broker, Coreco, commented:
“The only way that this intervention is exceptional, is that it’s exceptionally unfair and exceptionally late.
“The Government has turned its back on hundreds of thousands of leaseholders in dangerous buildings less than 18 metres high.
“A dangerous building is a dangerous building and its specific height should not be a deciding factor in whether leaseholders have the remediation works paid in full or not.
“There are also a whole host of associated costs that leaseholders are being asked to pay that cause grievous financial difficulty.
“Asking people to pay for mistakes they didn’t make is an absolute travesty and one of this Government’s biggest failures yet.
“When you buy a home, you expect it to have been built safely and should not have to pay a penny if it hasn’t.
“What’s vitally important is that there is a hard deadline in place or there’s a real danger that the cladding scandal, which is causing tens of thousands of people unbearable levels of stress, will continue to drag on.
“Thousands of people are now mortgage prisoners, unable to sell and in some cases facing financial ruin because of this outrage.
“It remains to be seen whether these proposals go far enough to give confidence to valuers and lenders to open up this part of the market once more and allow people to buy and sell without worry.
“Developers have been singled out to help pay for cladding remediation through an ongoing tax, and many outside the industry will see that as a wholly justified course of action. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”