Councils yet to receive fire safety funding following Grenfell

23 Jan 18

None of the 36 local authorities that have asked for central government support to install tower block fire safety measures such as sprinklers have received any funding so far, housing secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed.

In July last year, Javid told local authorities they were responsible for footing the bill for fire safety improvements for their residential buildings in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

He said the government would “ensure that lack of financial resources will not prevent them going ahead” if councils were concerned they could not afford to fund essential safety works.

In December, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government revealed the number of councils that that had requested additional funding.

Giving an update in the House of Commons on 22 January, Javid said: “My records show that the number of authorities is still 36. We have requested further information from 10 of them, and four have provided it.”

He added no council had yet been refused additional funding and that councils had received money to help with collection of data on private buildings.

MHCLG also revealed that only three out of 160 social housing tower blocks with cladding insulation that failed fire safety tests had so far been re-clad.

Cladding has been removed entirely from 26 buildings and installation of new material has begun on nine buildings.  

Including private-sector towers and student accommodation, 266 blocks over 18m in height have failed cladding safety tests. 

Labour shadow housing minister John Healey accused Javid of refusing to fund essential fire safety work “when they know that blocks are dangerous”.

Javid said the “number one priority for buildings safety” following the Grenfell Tower tragedy was to assure residents their buildings were properly tested and were completely safe.

Javid added that he was liaising with business secretary Greg Clark over concerns that the building industry has enough capacity to meet the increased demand for installations.

In July, a number of councils contradicted Javid’s claim that no authority had requested extra fire safety funding.

The London boroughs of Brent and Croydon both said they had asked for £10m to improve their high-rise stock.

Birmingham City Council said installing sprinkler systems and other fire suppression measures in a number of its high rises would cost £31m.

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