Liverpool Cladiators react to government U-turn as developers told to remove unsafe cladding on buildings

Developers will have to foot the bill rather than leaseholders and residents who live in unsafe and unsellable homes.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that companies who developed buildings with unsafe cladding will be responsible for putting it right - not leaseholders.

The cladding scandal was brought to public attention following the Grenfell Fire disaster in June 2017 which claimed 72 lives.

The tragedy triggered calls for changes to UK building regulations and the removal of unsafe cladding material on tower blocks across the country.

The scandal has affected tens of thousands of leaseholders in England and Wales who not only still live in buildings that have cladding but are forced to pay expensive cladding costs, often taking out personal loans to cover the cost of work.

Grenfell Tower disaster (Getty Images)

Under the new ruling, the Home Secretary has said that no leaseholder living in a building higher than 11 metres “will ever face any costs” for fixing dangerous cladding.

The Government had previously said they would only cover costs to take dangerous cladding off buildings more than 18 metres high.

Reaction from Liverpool campaigners

Liverpool Cladiators - an organisation that supports residents with fire safety issues in Merseyside - welcomed the ruling but say more needs to be done protect leaseholders and residents from the extortionate costs caused by fire safety defects that they were previously unaware of.

While the Government’s new plan aims to provide a solution for leaseholders whose homes are made unsafe due to unsuitable external cladding, the heightened scrutiny of building safety regulation post-Grenfell has revealed that many buildings have other, non-cladding flaws which render them unsafe.

Liverpool Cladiators member Julie Fraser said: "We've worked so hard over the last couple of years so you know we finally feel like we are getting somewhere, but Michael Gove does need to take a look at the bigger issues."

Julie is a leaseholder in The Decks development in Runcorn, which was clad in what is now classed as dangerous material. She says they've seen their insurance costs, paid as part of their service charge, increase by 1,400% over the past two years.

Although she doesn't currently live in the building herself, she has friends that do.

"You’re living in a tinder box. You know that at any point if a fire started in that building, there is a good chance the fires going to take over really quickly, you'd have to fight to get out.

“It's horrendous. It's been going on far too long since the Grenfell tragedy. It will be five years in June and the Government have taken far too long to take proper action on this.

“We’ll just have to hope he does what he says. If Gove can’t get them to cough up all the money now, he’s talking about legislation. But how long is that going to take?”