The government has announced it will fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding from social housing, at an estimated cost of around £400 million.
The announcement comes in the wake of an independent review into building regulations and fire safety, which was set up in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy where 71 people lost their lives. In the report, Dame Judith Hackitt stopped short of calling for cladding to be banned, but later backtracked by adding that she would support its removal as long as it were supported by other fire safety measures.
The government has announced a consultation into the use of cladding, despite the review not recommending a ban. Architects, building firms and Grenfell survivors have voiced their disappointment in Dame Judith’s conclusion.
Labour MP Diane Abbott and Conservative Minister Dominic Raab got into a heated exchange on BBC Question Time when Raab defended the government’s decision to conduct a consultation into the use of combustible cladding instead of announcing an immediate ban, calling it a “technical issue”- to which Abbot responded “The 71 people who died were not a 'technical issue' and you need to step up."
Latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) show that 65% (104 out of 158) of social housing buildings with unsafe cladding are currently going through the process of remediation. It is clear that the government does not want the controversy surrounding cladding to hinder their house building projects, which can be attributed to the release of funds to local authorities and housing associations to remedy the problem.