Private Tower Blocks: Removal of Cladding

Part of Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee) – in the House of Commons at 7:52 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 7:52 pm, 29th April 2019

I do not seek to use any kind of delaying tactic. I cannot give the hon. Lady a specific answer tonight, but I can say, as I said earlier, that conversations are ongoing across Government about what further interventions we can make, because we recognise that the issue needs to be resolved as urgently as possible. In the social sector we are making good progress. In the private sector, progress is slower; I absolutely admit that. We need to do something to speed that up, and we hope to increase the pace quite soon. Discussions are ongoing.

However, I point out that we have said to local authorities that, where they go into a building and assess there to be a category 1 hazard, we will support them to step in and do the work themselves. We have said specifically that we will provide financial support for that to happen. We have amended the HHSRS tool to take into account and appreciate the envelope of a building, not just houses that are internal. The tools are there for local authorities to step in and take action where they believe there to be an imminent threat to life.

Alongside that, as I say, we have commissioned a wider review to make sure that the measures required to keep people safe on an interim basis are assiduously applied and monitored while we try to sort out the remainder—the tail end—of this unfortunate problem. It has been a difficult and complex landscape —both legally and practically—with which we have had to wrestle, and I hope that we will reach a resolution soon. Pleasingly, as I say, the vast majority of large developers in the industry are stepping forward to play their part, which we should welcome.