In a letter, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove (pictured) said developers should agree to make financial contributions to a fund to cover all outstanding costs for cladding remediation on buildings between 11 and 18 metres high, which is estimated to cost around £4bn.
He urged companies to agree to fund and undertake “all necessary remediation” on buildings over 11 metres they helped develop, and to provide “comprehensive information” on all buildings above 11 metres with historic safety defects they had a role in building.
Gove warned that if developers fail to produce such plans, then the government could restrict access to funding and future procurements, limit use of planning powers and pursue companies through the courts.
Gove added that if the industry fails to take responsibility, then the government will “impose a solution in law”.
The housing secretary is expected to make a speech in the House of Commons today to confirm plans to protect leaseholders, who are stuck in unsellable homes and face rising bills due to cladding, along with other measures around building safety.
He said: “It is neither fair nor decent that innocent leaseholders, many of whom have worked hard and made sacrifices to get a foot on the housing ladder, should be landed with bills they cannot afford to fix or problems they did not cause.
He added that the government had accepted its share of responsibility and “made significant financial provision” though its ACM remediation programme and Building Safety Fund,
Gove said some developers had “already done the right thing” and funded remedial works but “too many others have failed to live up to their responsibilities”.
The letter said that most buildings between 11 and 18 metres are safe, and some with combustible cladding are or could be made safe through existing or new safety fire measures.
Gove said that developers must “take forward all necessary remediation work at pace” prioritising with the greatest risk and “funding the quickest and most proportionate solution” to make buildings safe.
He said the industry should “enter an open and transparent” dialogue” with the government on potential proposals, kicking off with a roundtable of key residential developers and trade bodies.
Leaseholders and those impacted by the Grenfell Tower tragedy will also be at the roundtable to ensure transparency.
A full announcement on which companies are in scope for funding contributions from the government will be made in due course, but it is expected to cover firms whose annual profits from housebuilding are or exceed £10m.