Secretary of State Robert Jenrick MP recently announced an additional £3.5bn of funding for the remediation of unsafe cladding.
The funding will be available for the remediation of unsafe external wall systems on buildings 18m and over. It will be available to housing associations with eligible buildings on the same terms as the Building Safety Fund. Jenrick also announced that leaseholders in buildings of 11-18m will be able to access long-term loans for works to external wall systems, with a monthly repayment cap of £50.
This additional funding is welcome. But we know it does not go far enough in addressing the building safety crisis. We also have questions about the terms under which the funding will be delivered, which we’ll be seeking clarity on.
We have raised concerns with ministers about the impact of remediation costs on housing associations and their residents. We have also been clear about the inevitable impact on the supply of new affordable homes.
In his statement, Jenrick announced a new development levy for buildings 18m and over, which will be included within the Building Safety Bill. It is not yet clear how this will affect affordable housing and will continue to engage with the government on behalf of our members.
It is important that any levy does not simply get passed on, increasing the cost of affordable homes that not-for-profit housing associations purchase from developers, and future homes bought by individuals on a shared ownership basis. There are also plans for a new tax on residential property development.
We are continuing to call for housing association access to available funding, and for government to take a risk-based approach, allocating funding and other resources first to buildings that need them most.