A new £1bn fund to remove unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings has been unveiled today by the chancellor.
In his 2020 Budget announcement, Rishi Sunak said the £1bn Building Safety Fund will enable all unsafe materials to be removed from public and private buildings over 18 metres tall.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: 'It is great to see the Government prioritising the remediation of high rise residential buildings. A dedicated fund is much-needed support, though it will probably need further funding in future years if it is to meet the scale of interventions required.
'It is clear that the wider issue of building safety will take years to resolve and require a collaborative approach between all parties affected. How Government therefore plans its long-term policy approach on this issue is very important, with funding going hand-in-hand with what is in scope.'
Mr Sunak also said the Affordable Homes Programme would be extended with a new, multi-year settlement of £12bn, the largest cash injection into affordable housing for a decade.
Nearly £1.1bn of allocations from the Housing Infrastructure Fund will also help build nearly 70,000 new homes in high demand areas across the country, he said.
‘Ambitious’ mayors will also have access to a new £400m fund to build new homes on brownfield sites.
To help tackle homelessness, the chancellor said a new £650m fund would help rough sleepers move into permanent accommodation. This will provide 6,000 new places and enable a step change in support services, he said.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: 'Today was an important first step, but it’s not job done. To see housing in the government’s infrastructure revolution and the biggest cash injection in a decade is good news. The big question is how much of this money will be put into the social homes we desperately need to end the housing emergency, and transform the lives of millions.
'Extra investment in rough sleeping services is also very welcome but homelessness is more than rough sleeping alone. 280,000 people are homeless in England including 126,000 children. Building social homes is the only solution and voices right across the political spectrum agree.'