Fire safety improvements Central Housing Group

Government to fund private blocks fire safety improvements

A trade body is backing a call by a parliamentary committee for the government to fund certain fire safety improvements in privately owned residential blocks.

In its report responding to the Hackitt Review into building and fire safety, the Housing Communities and Local Government Select Committee recommends that the government should pay for the replacement of any cladding on existing buildings which had been permitted, but has been subsequently banned following the Grenfell Tower fire.

It argues that this funding should be made available to both public and private sector landlords.

One of the proposals put forward by the committee echoes a demand from the Residential Landlords Association that the government should introduce a low-interest loan scheme for private sector building owners, to ensure that remedial work is carried out as quickly as possible where unsafe cladding is found and needs to be removed.

With the RLA having argued that the Hackitt review represents a missed opportunity to focus on fire safety improvements across all types of property, and not just high rise flats, the Committee urges the government to “take as wide an approach as possible to the applicability and implementation of the recommendations in the Final Report.”

“[This] pragmatic approach to the financing of the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding would ensure vital improvements are made quickly whilst legal debates continue about who should be responsible for replacing cladding found to be unsafe” says David Smith, RLA policy director.

“We urge also the government to take seriously the committee’s call to take a more holistic approach to fire safety. For all the focus on high rise buildings, we need to learn from the tragedy at Grenfell to ensure the right safety regime is in place whatever size or shape of housing people live in.”

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