Gove warns firms ‘slow’ to remove dangerous cladding on Grenfell’s 6th anniversa

Government failed Grenfell residents says Michael Gove

Michael Gove’s department for Local Government, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has marked the sixth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy with a renewed warning to any developers deemed to be moving too slowly to remove dangerous cladding.

This morning a spokesperson for the Department of Housing said their thoughts are with “the bereaved families, survivors and residents as they remember those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower tragedy”.

Yesterday the official Grenfell Tower inquiry used the anniversary to promise they are “working hard to complete the report as soon as possible in order to bring the waiting to and end and enable the full story behind the tragedy to be told”.

A spokesperson for DLUCH added: “It is absolutely unacceptable for anyone to have to live in an unsafe building and residents’ safety and wellbeing should always be the utmost priority. Building owners and developers must act quickly to fix any dangerous defects so residents can finally get on with their lives”.

“We have been clear that those responsible must pay to end the crisis. All developers who have signed the developer remediation contract now have a legal duty to get on with remediation.

“We are monitoring their progress very closely to ensure this work is completed urgently and safely, and, if it is not, we will act accordingly.”

When taking over the Housing Department last summer, Michael Gove promised to bring promised social housing reforms to parliament, which he did in June 2022.

Mr Gove promised a “reset” to the relationship between tenant and landlord, with a new measure in the Social Housing Regulation Bill to ensure that all senior social housing managers gain a housing management qualification.

The amendment was supported by Grenfell United, in the hope it would help residents receive a high level of service in future.

In February 2022, Mr Gove admitted the Government had been too slow to bring forward necessary changes and protections.

Despite this change, however, the Government’s housing bill is yet to pass onto the statute books.

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The bill will return to the Lords on June 27, to consider amendments from the House of Commons, before being sent to King Charles for Royal Assent.

Despite this delay, the Department for Housing has promised to take action against any developers making too slow progress.

97 percent of high-rise buildings identified as having the same ACM cladding as Grenfell Tower have now seen remediation work started or completed, with Mr Gove’s department expecting that work to be completed at pace in the coming months.

Mr Gove also recently wrote to cladding shareholders warning of “severe consequences” for manufacturers if they do not bring forward a comprehensive remediation package.

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Earlier this year the Government gave a six-week deadline for developers to sign a contract to fix unsafe buildings, with 48 signatories now in place.

Those signatories are now reporting to the Department for Housing with quarterly updates.

Other changes brought in by banks in January – including the six largest mortgage lenders of HSBC, Barclays, NatWest, Nationwide, Santander and Lloyds – mean that they will now consider mortgage applications on properties over 11m in height where there are building safety issues.

At the time Mr Gove said the move would “unlock the mortgage market for affected flats”, allowing residents to move and “move on with their lives”.

It’s expected time in parliament will be found in the coming weeks for MPs to commemorate the Grenfell Tragedy and receive updates on housing safety from Mr Gove and his fellow department ministers.

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