Despite the Government's strongly worded recent commitments to ensure that the construction industry contributes more towards the cost of remediating unsafe cladding in affected buildings and to exclude developers who refused to contribute from participating in the UK residential property development market, the Government now appears to be softening its approach.
In a recent statement to a House of Commons select committee, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, acknowledged difficulties in compelling non-UK based companies to contribute towards the cost of remediating unsafe cladding and the inherent unfairness if only UK based developers, contractor and manufactures were to shoulder this burden.
Mr Gove also acknowledged that historic regulatory failures by successive UK Governments had contributed towards the cladding crisis and indicated that the Government has to share some of that responsibility and that the UK tax payer is the backstop in any funding arrangement.
While Mr Gove's statement does not indicate a full retreat from the Government's intention to ensure that construction industry contributes more towards the cost of remediating unsafe cladding, Mr Gove's statement does adopt a more conciliatory tone and suggests that the Government will contribute more towards the cost of the necessary remedial works.
It was clear that there was a collective failure to ensure that appropriate safety rules were followed and that information was shared in an appropriate way … Government has to share some of that responsibility.