Mortgage market suffering under cladding crisis

Campaign group End our Cladding Scandal estimates the total number of affected buildings above 11 metres to be at least 31,000.

Meanwhile, fact-checking charity Full Fact estimates the total number of residents affected to be around 760,000, while landlords of another 600,000 properties will also be affected. 

Government funding

Following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said in May 2018 it would meet the reasonable cost of replacing unsafe aluminium composite material cladding by councils and housing associations – the material blamed for spreading the fire so quickly.

In the March 2020 Budget, a Building Safety Fund was launched to provide £1bn in 2020 to 2021 to also replace unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings 18 metres and over in both the private and social housing sectors in England.

Then earlier this month on February 10, housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced additional funding of £3.5bn.

So far 2,820 building schemes have registered for the fund. Of these, 532 are proceeding with an application for funding, 354 are ineligible, 291 have been withdrawn, 297 are being checked with the information provided, while the remainder have submitted incomplete information.

Where cladding needs to be removed from lower and medium-rise blocks (set at between 11-18 metres), the government is planning a long-term low interest loan scheme where leaseholders will pay no more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding.

But critics say the government fund does not go far enough as the problem also extends beyond unsafe cladding.

Giles Grover, a spokesperson for EOCS, says: “I would hope that if there’s combustible cladding [on an 18 metre-plus building] and there is dangerous insulation and cavity barrier issues behind it, you would receive funding, but that still isn't clear and there are going to be a wide range of unfunded safety defects that will still require remediation.

"For example, what's behind the non-combustible cladding? There are timber balconies and walkways, and serious internal compartmentation issues – none of which are going to be funded [by the government or loan scheme] in buildings under or over 18 metres, so the work will not happen. Even if the unsafe cladding is replaced, this still does not tackle the other issues.”

More concerns than just cladding

A government briefing paper covering the progress of the remediation work, published earlier this month, said the additional £3.5bn in funding had been welcomed but noted leaseholders and commentators' point that it will not address all outstanding issues.

For example, there is no funding for non-cladding related remedial works although a myriad of building safety issues has been revealed following inspections.