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Building Safety Fund increased by £3.5bn - painfully short, but grab what you can.

Robert Jenrick today announced £3.5bn additional cladding remediation funding for 18m+ buildings. It falls painfully short and ignores vital non-cladding issues. But if you are eligible, even if only partially, you mustn't ignore it. Take what you can whilst keeping up the fight!

In predictable style, the Government's announcement today of an additional £3.5bn for the Building Safety Fund (taking the total pot to £5.1bn) fell woefully short of the mark. Leaseholders in buildings over 18m were told they will not need to pay for removal of unsafe cladding. Note the emphasis on cladding. Buildings under 18m will receive cladding funding in the form of a grossly unfair loan, with repayments for leaseholders capped at £50 per month; for all intents and purposes a lifelong cladding tax. The detail is still forthcoming.

As much as this announcement was designed to appease rebel Tories and persuade them to withdraw support for the proposed McPartland Smith amendment to the draft Fire Safety Bill, it was also seen as a cynical ploy to divide and conquer leaseholders, in the same cynical way the government has created a false dichotomy between leaseholders and taxpayers.

However, in my view, leaseholders are not divided, even with the arbitrary height cut-off. With the emphasis on cladding, and the lack of funding for other non-cladding fire safety issues, we are still united in requiring and demanding more funding for non-cladding issues, and to solve the waking watch and insurance issues. Rather than some buildings now being financially rescued, we simply find a situation where almost all affected buildings will only be funded to a half safe state, whether that's through a grant or a loan.

That said, I have some important advice based on my own experience:

Eligible leaseholders should progress without delay. The money will not wait around forever and there are legitimate strategies to delay non-BSF works.

As frustrating as it is, and as much as the government has got this so badly wrong, undeniably there is at least some funding available. It's piecemeal, but if you wait around forever for the perfect solution, the interim costs will continue to rack up. So if the money is available for your building, you must progress without delay. Any delay in your application is simply prolonging your own financial pain of waking watch, hiked insurance premiums, and delaying a positive EWS1 form. Taking the available funding, and continuing to support lobbying efforts and making further demands are not mutually exclusive.

In my building, I have pushed for a construction and funding strategy that would allow the eligible BSF cladding works to progress first, with non-eligible issues delinked from the contractor's initial scope, to be dealt with towards the back of the programme, potentially buying a year of time to continue exploring and pursuing several other funding options. In this time, a miracle may even happen and the Government may broaden the coverage of the fund. This strategy is perfectly legitimate because the works cannot all be magically completed at the click of a finger. They take time. Therefore scheduling the works in a certain order means remediation work can still progress, just in the most optimal way to keep leaseholders afloat and not require certain non-BSF funds upfront.

If you would like to discuss how to optimise the schedule of your works to stay afloat for longer, or for all sorts of other helpful advice and guidance, contact me via or point the directors of your Residents' Management Company in my direction.

1 commento

good article

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