Residents scared for financial future after government denies them access to £1bn cladding fund

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The government has confirmed the emergency fund to replace dangerous cladding will not be provided to buildings where work has already begun – leaving residents “heartbroken”.

A dedicated pot of £1bn to repair buildings with unsafe cladding was announced in March.

But Skyline apartments in Manchester has been refused access to the money as projects were already underway when the fund was confirmed.

This has left residents – who have already been paying out of their own pocket for building work – little choice but to withdraw loans to fund the repairs themselves.

Inside Housing Deputy Editor Peter Apps said that those living in Skyline were now “saddled with debts for life.”

The Manchester Claddiators – a group set up to support residents affected by cladding issues – called the government decision “outrageous”, whilst the Skyline building page on Twitter pleaded with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt to “reconsider the guidelines.”

Residents say they are “petrified for (their) financial futures.”

It remains unclear how many other buildings will be affected by the rules on cladding funding.

Groups have been approaching Housing Minister Robert Jenrick in an attempt to resolve the situation.

Around 1,700 buildings need pricey repairs to meet safety criteria, including the removal of aluminium composite material cladding – which played a role in the blaze that claimed 72 lives at Grenfell Tower in 2017.

But according to Inside Housing, the cladding fund – which is to be issued on a first come, first served basis from next week – will cover less than a third of what’s required to fix every building.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated: “We’re determined to keep residents safe – that’s why this week we’ve published details of our £1bn fund to remove unsafe cladding from buildings and ensure this happens quickly.

“We expect building owners to take immediate action to make their buildings safe and we have reached an agreement with local leaders so that this important work can continue safely during the pandemic.”

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