The government should provide the money up front and then seek to recover it from any responsible parties or via a temporary levy on development.

Fixing this crisis will, inevitably, be expensive. The recent select committee report on which this campaign is based estimated the total cost at close to £15bn.

It is not fair that the full burden for remediating these blocks should fall on the taxpayer, but the question then is what happens if the government does not pay?

The legal system simply does not provide a route for residents to claim against those responsible in most cases, many warranties do not cover these issues and building owners cannot be compelled not to pass these costs on to leaseholders.

So the only option if the state does not pay is that residents do. And this would result in misery, bankruptcy and, in most cases, no further progress on remediation.

The only solution is for the government to fund the work but give itself the power to claw back as much of the money as possible from those who are at fault or took the profits for building and selling these properties. Our campaign suggests the government should:

  • Actively seek to recover funds from the construction companies, architects, suppliers of faulty products, approved inspectors and any others who are found to be responsible for fire safety defects.

  • Undertake a review of proportionate taxes on freeholders, developers and others to help fund these remedial works. This should include consideration of a temporary levy linked to the sale of new build properties.

This is not a pipe dream, or a Marxist fantasy, but instead precisely what is being put in place in the Australian state of Victoria, which is facing a similar crisis of its own.

Originally posted in Inside Housing on 27/09/20 by Peter Apps

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