Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
10 January 2022

Why Michael Gove’s cladding plan creates new headaches for the government

The principle that leaseholders shouldn’t be left out of pocket means the government may well have to pay for more than just new cladding.

By Stephen Bush

No leaseholder will have to pay the cost of removing illegal cladding under plans to be unveiled by Michael Gove later today (10 January). But it is not yet clear who exactly will have to pay: or, equally important, who will have to pay the costs already borne by leaseholders.

Gove’s preferred remedy is that developers should have to pay: one reason why the Treasury has held out against this, and one reason why the former housing secretary Robert Jenrick tried to pass the cost on to leaseholders, is Rishi Sunak’s scepticism that the developers will ever stump up the cash.

The most important part of today’s announcement, therefore, isn’t about who will pay for it – while Gove is surely right philosophically that the costs should be borne by developers not leaseholders, he may struggle to raise all the necessary funds from that source – but who won’t. Because it’s not just dangerous cladding that leaseholders have had to pay for in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Leaseholders with flammable cladding have had to pay for, among other things, 24-hour fire safety watches while they wait to have their cladding removed. And it remains unclear who will have to pay not just for what is in tower blocks but what shouldn’t be (ie, dangerous cladding), and also who should pay for what isn’t in tower blocks but should be (ie, functioning firebreaks).

Whatever one thinks of the politics (or indeed the ethics) of the Jenrick approach of trying to palm off as much of the cost of the Grenfell clean-up to leaseholders, one thing that he and Sunak are surely right about is that having acceded to the principle that leaseholders shouldn’t be the ones left out of pocket, Gove and the government may well have to pay for more than just cladding.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action

Topics in this article :