The government has announced that it will fully fund the replacement of unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on high-rise private residential properties.
The new fund, estimated at £200m, will be made available to remove and replace unsafe ACM from around 170 privately owned blocks.
The move comes after increasing pressure on the government to take action to increase the pace at which removal work was taking place. Latest figures show that 166 private blocks are yet to see work to remove the dangerous cladding start.
Two weeks ago, Inside Housing began its End Our Cladding Scandal campaign calling on the government to create a central fund to pay for the removal of cladding and other fire safety works.
The campaign has been backed by leaseholders living in the blocks, prominent politicians, trade bodies and celebrities.
Building owners will be able to register for the fund in early July, and will have three months to access the fund. The government has said it will look carefully at those that fail to take action after this, and consider further action.
The government has also said that the money will be given on the condition that the building owner takes reasonable steps to recover costs from those responsible for the unsafe cladding.
Prime minister Theresa May said: “We’ve seen a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the costs of removal and replacement to leaseholders.
“Today I can confirm we will now be fully funding the replacement of cladding on high-rise private residential buildings so residents can feel confident they are secure in their homes.”
Housing secretary James Brokenshire said: “Although temporary measures are in place to ensure people living in these buildings are safe, too many owners are treating this as a permanent fix. “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.”
John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said: “It is welcome that the government is finally giving some help to worried residents in private blocks with Grenfell-style cladding, but it is astonishing that it has taken ministers almost two years to act.
“The government must now back the further steps Labour has been calling for, set a deadline to make all blocks safe and toughen the sanctions to get this work done.”
Grenfell United, the survivors and bereaved families group, said: "Today’s announcement offers hope to people in dangerous blocks that the nightmare they have been living for nearly two years is almost over. This result is a testament to residents themselves, in social and private blocks, who refused to be ignored. The truth is we should never have had to fight for it.
"It is not a quick fix so we ask the government to also consider what financial support can be put in place while residents continue with night watches and wait for remediation works to start.
"We want to call out UK Cladding Action Group and Inside Housing for their campaign as well as Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Kevin Hollinrake MP, among others, who have been speaking out on this issue from day one."