Builder’s £125m fire-trap flat fund: Construction giant Taylor Wimpey sets aside fortune to fix cladding issues
- Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said fund would ‘provide certainty’ to leaseholders
- The £125m fund will spare leaseholders the cost of making buildings safe
- It is the latest construction giant to set aside cash since the Mail launched its campaign to end the cladding scandal in January
One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders has set aside £125million to fix fire-trap flats after posting profits of £264million last year.
Taylor Wimpey said the fund would ‘provide certainty’ for leaseholders and spare them the cost of making buildings safe.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the move was ‘very welcome’, but leaseholders described it as ‘a token gesture’.
It is the latest construction giant to set aside cash since the Mail launched its campaign to end the cladding scandal in January and follows others in including buildings below 18 metres (60ft) in height.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said today it will pay out £125 million to replace cladding and improve fire safety on all blocks built in the last 20 years. Pictured: A general view down the Thames path towards the Royal Artillery Quays which has the same flammable cladding that caused the Grenfell disaster
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the move was ‘very welcome’, but leaseholders described it as ‘a token gesture’
Jan 4: Mail launches End The Cladding Scandal campaign.
Jan 14: Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick lifts ‘gagging clause’ barring leaseholders who speak out from government funds.
Jan 16: Plan revealed to ban Kingspan and Arconic, whose products were used on Grenfell, from government contracts.
Jan 18: Ministers intend to impose a tax on developers to raise £2billion for repairs.
Jan 19: Government announces new regulator with powers to jail bosses of firms which make dangerous products for homes.
Feb 5: Construction giant Barratt backs developer tax and says it has spent £82million fixing fire safety defects on homes.
Feb 11: Mr Jenrick announces extra £3.5billion to replace unsafe cladding – but only for buildings taller than 18 metres.
Feb 11: Persimmon sets aside £75million for 26 buildings.
March 2: Taylor Wimpey announces £125million fund to fix fire safety defects.
This newspaper’s campaign has sparked a frenzied response from ministers and developers desperate to quell the outcry over the treatment of around four million leaseholders.
Government funding to fix the problem has more than trebled to £5billion, while four out of the UK’s five biggest developers have now earmarked cash for repairs.
But the End Our Cladding Scandal [EOCS] campaign group last night sent an open letter to Boris Johnson demanding he go further.
The letter, also signed by more than a dozen MPs, said current support ‘will not be enough to save us, or to make buildings safe at the pace we need to see’.
Taylor Wimpey’s intervention came as it reported a record order book for 2021 and posted sales revenues of £2.8billion, including an estimated £1.2billion through the taxpayer-funded Help To Buy scheme.
Its fire safety fund comes on top of a £40million pot to cover the cost of replacing ACM cladding.
The material was used on Grenfell Tower in west London, where a fire killed 72 people in 2017.
Taylor Wimpey said it had completed work on 12 out of 19 blocks with ACM cladding.
The firm said it had identified 232 potentially unsafe buildings and its fund would cover any block built in the past 20 years, including those below 18 metres in height.
Ministers have faced a backlash following a decision to exclude those living in small and medium-rise buildings from funds to replace unsafe cladding.
It means those in smaller blocks face bills of up to £600 a year to make their homes safe.
Ministers have said they will impose a new tax on developers worth £2billion over ten years to help pay for fire safety work.
The tragic Grenfell Tower fire in west London in 2017 left 72 dead and has since sparked efforts to help repair or replace cladding
The five biggest builders have made about £10billion in profits since the Grenfell fire.
Berkeley Group, which has made £2.3billion since the blaze, is yet to earmark a sum for repairs.
Persimmon has reaped in £2.1billion in pre-tax profits since Grenfell and has pledged £75million to pay for work on 26 buildings that may be affected by the cladding issue.
Barratt has made £2.2billion and has so far spent £82million on fixing flammable cladding and other defects. While Bellway has raked in £1.5billion and has a £87million cladding fund.
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