Politics

Cladding scandal: Housing Secretary Michael Gove to issue warning to unsafe property developers

“We are coming for you” – that’s the warning due to be issued to unsafe property developers by Michael Gove, as he attempts to put pressure on developers to spend money on replacing dangerous cladding.

On Monday, the housing secretary is set to lay out his plans, which include tasking forensic accountants to track down those responsible and extending help to cover leaseholders of low-rise flats.

The proposals come more than four years after the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, in which 72 people were killed.

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Hope for leaseholders’ cladding

Since then, the cladding scandal has trapped leaseholders in unsafe and unsellable homes.

Mr Gove is also due to announce that leaseholders in buildings 11 to 18 metres tall will no longer have to contribute to replacing cladding.

A draft of the housing secretary’s Commons statement suggests he will warn developers: “I am putting them on notice. If you mis-sold dangerous products like cladding or insulation, if you cut corners to save cash as you developed or refurbished homes, we are coming for you.”

The latest plans have emerged after a letter from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke to Mr Gove said loans for smaller buildings would be replaced by a “limited grant scheme”.

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“You may use a high-level ‘threat’ of tax or legal solutions in discussions with developers as a means to obtaining voluntary contributions from them,” it read.

“I am pleased to see that you acknowledge the principle that the taxpayer should not be on the hook for further costs of remediation.

“To reiterate, my approval of this new package for 11m-18m buildings is therefore conditional on no further Exchequer funding.”


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