Leaseholders in smaller buildings ‘to be spared cladding costs’

Thousands of homeowners will be spared the cost of removing dangerous cladding from buildings more than 11 meters tall, the government plans to say.

In an apparent decline, Housing Secretary Michael Gove appears instead to be putting pressure on developers to cover the cost of paneling changes, which is estimated at up to £ 4 billion.

A Treasury Department letter published by BBC Newsnight suggests he will threaten taxes or laws to put pressure on them to cover the costs of the tenants without any more money coming from the government.

Currently, only tenants in buildings more than 18 meters high have access to grants to replace unsafe cladding as part of measures introduced in England after 72 people were killed in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke’s letter to Mr. Gove on Wednesday said that loans for smaller buildings would be replaced by a “limited grant program.”

“You can use a high-level ‘threat’ of tax or legal solutions in discussions with developers to get voluntary contributions from them,” it says.

“I am pleased that you recognize the principle that the taxpayer should not be charged for further renovation costs. To repeat it once again, my approval of this new package for 11-18 million buildings is therefore tied to the condition that no further funding is made available from the Ministry of Finance. “

An End Our Cladding Scandal campaign spokesman said the “devil is in the details”.

“It’s a welcome step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go,” he said.

“It is not yet clear whether we will achieve the goal we want to achieve, but we are cautiously optimistic.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that an announcement of the measures is expected on Monday.

A spokesman for the Department of Housing, Community and Local Government did not deny the contents of the leaked letter but added, “We will not comment on speculation.”

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