Extra £3.5bn promised to remove unsafe cladding

Ministers faced pressure to act while a Scottish Government working group has yet to allocate the funds.

Extra £3.5bn promised to remove unsafe cladding STV News

An extra £3.5bn has been promised by UK Government ministers to remove unsafe cladding from buildings with Holyrood expected to receive a portion of the funding.

The funding comes after nearly £100m was granted to the Scottish Government by the UK treasury but has yet to be spent.

Thousands of flat-owners face huge bills for fire-safety improvements brought in after the Grenfell Tower disaster which killed 72 people in 2017 when flames spread through combustible cladding in a high-rise block.

The £3.5bn is in addition to £1.6bn in funding that was announced for the removal of unsafe cladding last year, of which Holyrood received £97.1m.

In England, housing secretary Robert Jenrick said, the money will be used to remove the dangerous cladding from high-rise buildings over 18m tall.

Ministers have come under growing pressure to increase the pot as property owners have been hit by building and soaring insurance costs.

Some say they feel trapped in their own homes because they are unable to sell until the work is carried out but unable to meet the costs.

The Scottish Government wants building developers to contribute to replace unsafe cladding, but despite four meetings of a working group over the last ten months, a solution is yet to be found.

Last week, Scottish Government housing minister Kevin Stewart insisted the working group was trying to find a swift solution and accepted owners were in a difficult position through no fault of their own.

But he said the £100m fund was not enough to solve the problem and that developers would have to contribute.

Persimmon Homes, a housebuilding company with several developments in Scotland, has pledged £75m to pay for the removal of cladding on its high-rise buildings.

Persimmon has identified nine high-rise buildings built but no longer owner by the group where cladding may need to be removed.

There are also a further 17 buildings less than 18 metres tall that may be fitted with unsafe cladding and need investigating.

Persimmon chairman Roger Devlin said: “At Persimmon we believe we have a clear duty to act to address this issue.

“So today we are setting aside £75m towards any necessary cladding remediation and safety work in 26 developments we built.

“Where we still own the building we will act. Where we no longer own them we will work with the owners to make sure they meet their legal responsibilities and duty.

“If the owner does not step up then we will act to remove uncertainty and anxiety for residents and make the buildings safe.”

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