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Budget 2020: Questions remain over £1bn cladding removal fund

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  • 11/03/2020
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Budget 2020: Questions remain over £1bn cladding removal fund
A £1bn Building Safety Fund to remove unsafe cladding from residential buildings has been introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in his 2020 Budget.

 

Properties higher than 18 meters in both the public and private sector will be eligible for the fund.  

This news comes after the government named and shamed five high-rise building managers for not making plans to remove aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. 

 

Cladding logistics still a concern  

David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group, said the Building Safety Fund would be welcomed by leaseholders but said the issue of how quickly funds could be called upon and eligibility remained unanswered.  

He said: “The funds have officially been made available, but the logistics have yet to emerge. In the meantime, many people’s lives have been put on hold as they cannot secure mortgage finance and they cannot sell their homes.  

“What’s also vital is that the new fund covers rendered insulation as well as combustible cladding.  

He added: “In our experience, the cladding issues we are seeing around the UK could soon be surpassed by the problem of rendered insulation.  

“If we are to genuinely make every apartment and housing block in this country safe then the newly announced fund needs to cover all materials that are deemed to be unsafe, not just cladding.”   

 

Affordable housing 

Sunak also announced the government would invest an additional £9.5bn into its Affordable Homes Programme.  

This new funding for affordable housing brings the total available grant to £12.2bn to be used to build affordable homes across England from 2021-22. 

Sunak also confirmed a £400m brownfield housing fund across all regions in the country, to increase housing supply on brownfield land.  

Furthermore, the allocation of a Housing Infrastructure Fund totalling £1.1bn for nine different areas including Manchester, South Sunderland and South Lancaster was announced. Successful bids are expected to unlock up to 69,620 homes in these areas. 

Tom Slingsby, chief executive of developer Southern Grove, said: “This cash boost for affordable homes will underpin building for many years to come and is a declaration of war on a housing crisis that isn’t going away.  

“Only sufficient provision of affordable homes in the right areas can prevent the sort of social inconsistencies that appear when high property prices put key areas of UK cities off limits to younger workers and their families.” 

 

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