UK to demand £ 4bn more from builders for flammable coatings – BBC

The Grenfell Tower is seen shrouded in scaffolding and covers two years after the tower burned down in London, Britain on June 14, 2019. REUTERS / Hannah McKay

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LONDON, Jan. 8 (Reuters) – The UK government will seek an additional £ 4bn ($ 5.4bn) from property developers to fund repairs to dangerous buildings, following a fire that has left more than 70 deaths in 2017, the BBC reported.

The deadly fire at Grenfell Tower, a 23-story social housing building in west London, has exposed the widespread use of flammable coatings in apartment buildings across the country, requiring costly removal or 24 hour fire monitoring.

The government has so far pledged around £ 5 billion for repairs and last year imposed a tax on home builders to increase the cost by £ 2 billion over the next 10 years.

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The BBC published government correspondence late Friday, showing ministers would ask an additional £ 4bn from developers to fund repairs to a wider range of buildings and lower costs for apartment tenants.

“You can use a high-level ‘threat’ of tax or legal solutions in discussions with developers as a means of securing voluntary contributions from them,” Simon Clarke, Chief Treasury Secretary, wrote to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Housing. .

The money would be used to provide government grants to fund repairs to blocks that are at least 11 meters (36 feet) high. Previously, only government loans were available for blocks less than 18.5 meters high.

However, Clarke told Gove that if developers didn’t pay, he would have to find the money in the existing housing budget.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Leveling, Housing and Communities did not immediately comment.

Legal liability for repairs is disputed, and in practice tenants of individual apartments have often faced bills of tens of thousands of pounds each for repairs from apartment building owners.

Developers who had to fork out to replace the coating include Barratt (BDEV.L) and Persimmon (PSN.L).

($ 1 = 0.7361 pounds)

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Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Pravin Char

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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