Industry slams Gove’s ‘unfair’ cladding removal measures

by: Mary-Anne Bowring/Property Week

Developers, housebuilders and freeholders that made donations to the Conservative Party may be regretting their decision.

Last week, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, Michael Gove, unveiled a series of measures aimed at forcing developers to pay to remove unsafe cladding and fix other historical problems.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster and the crippling bills facing leaseholders to replace dangerous cladding on flats that are currently unsellable, that might seem all well and good. But the fact is that apportioning blame in such circumstances is notoriously difficult given the fragmented nature of the supply chain. So, what does the industry make of Gove’s announcement?

The proposed amendments to the Building Safety Bill seem pretty stringent and it is clear the government is now siding with leaseholders. “It is time to bring this scandal to an end, protect leaseholders and see the industry work together to deliver a solution,” Gove said in a statement.

For Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley Asset Management, broadening the scope of the levy is unfair. “The tax is the latest iteration of a series of uncoordinated and arguably impulsive moves and is by no means the final solution,” she says.

“It feels like another case of political point scoring rather than an appropriate response. There is a real disconnect between government and industry and that’s proving to be a stumbling block as we tackle what is a generation-defining issue.”


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