One London borough sent an “official request” for financial support for fire safety work directly to Sajid Javid, a week before he told parliament no councils had asked for funding.
Brent Council sent the letter to the communities secretary on 13 July notifying him that it had identified £10m of works it wanted to carry out on its blocks.
It said: “The council does not believe that social housing tenants should have to pay for these improvements to the stock through a de-prioritisation of both planned and reactive repair and maintenance works.
“As such, the council resolved to request the government to provide the direct financial support to meet the costs incurred. This letter acts as our official request.”
The letter said the work would involve bringing its blocks up to “best practice” rather than compliant with fire safety standards, and mentioned the installation of sprinklers and smoke alarms.
Exactly seven days later, Mr Javid said in a statement to parliament: “To date, as far as I am aware, not a single local authority or housing association has approached me or my department to ask for any assistance. If they did, of course we would take that very seriously.”
Southampton, Southwark, Birmingham, Croydon and Portsmouth councils are all known to have contacted Mr Javid’s department ahead of this statement.
Yesterday, Labour called on the communities secretary to explain his “misleading statements”.
A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said yesterday that Mr Javid was “not aware” of the requests when he spoke in the debate.