Housing minister Robert Jenrick has promised to help landlords and other owners of the estimated 500,000 leasehold flats caught up in the cladding remediation scandal.
In an interview with a national newspaper over the weekend, Jenrick said he would lobby the Treasury to ‘do more’ for leaseholders facing ‘life changing’ financial problems.
He said he understood that many leaseholders face both enormous costs while owning properties that, until the cladding problem in their buildings is sorted out, are worthless and un-mortgageable.
His comments follow mounting criticism of the government’s handling of the problems faced by home owners as the fall-out from the Grenfell tragedy has unfolded.
Hundreds of privately funded towers blocks around the UK now need their cladding to be replaced but the Treasury has so far declined to foot the entire bill.
Following the Grenfell fire, it released £400 million to pay for the removal of aluminium composite material panels from social housing-controlled blocks, and later gave £200 million towards helping some private blocks. It then this year pledged £1 billion towards helping fund the removal of other types of potentially danger cladding.
Jenrick did not clarify what ‘do more’ means but it likely to be an attempt to find the estimated additional £2 billion needed to pay for non-ACM cladding to be replaced on towers.
The urgency of the situation was highlighted two weeks ago by a Public Account Committee report into the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s handling of the crisis.
“The government must step up and show that it will put a stop to the bickering over who is responsible, who’s going to pay for the remediation – and just put this right,” said its chair Meg Hillier.