The newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has used his first budget of 2020 to announce plans for extra Government funds to be made available to support building safety, with regards to the critical importance of fire safety.
The extra £1bn pledge has been made towards funding the removal of combustible Grenfell-style cladding on tower blocks to ensure the safety of residents.
The Chancellor said: “Two and a half years on, we’re still grappling with the tragic legacy of Grenfell. Expert advice is clear that new public funding must concentrate on removing unsafe materials from high rise residential buildings, so today I am creating a new building safety fund worth £1 billion.”
The announcement comes following the priority status given to public sector fire safety, highlighted in the Queen’s Speech, which made clear the Government’s plans to implement Dame Judith Hackett’s proposals.
Ministers are expected to follow up from the budget with new measures covering all 53 recommendations. Plans for a new building safety regulator have also been confirmed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG.)
The new legislation will include “a new safety framework for high-rise residential buildings”.
The government said it will go further than Hackitt’s proposals by “providing clear accountability for, and stronger duties on, those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings throughout the building’s design, construction and occupation, with clear competence requirements to ensure high standards are upheld”.
New sanctions to deter non-compliance with the system will also be introduced and a “stronger” framework to ensure construction products meet performance standards.
Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal Fire and Security added: “Today’s Budget news is a welcome step in the right direction to ensure residents can soon live with peace of mind that their home is fire safe, in accordance with latest regulations. Our aim is to work alongside the public sector fire response, ensuring compliance in products and services to meet the needs of essential safety works in all residential buildings, across the UK. Together, we can work to, ‘protect what’s precious.’”