Gove turns on suppliers

Levelling up minister Michael Gove has blasted cladding and insulation manufacturers over their failure to commit to paying for post-Grenfell safety measures on buildings.

He has now committed to use all his powers to impose “significant commercial and reputational consequences’ for those firms that have failed to step up.

Gove issued his warning in a strongly-worded letter to industry trade body, the Construction Products Association.

Talks with the trade body have collapsed after Gove slammed it for ‘coming up with excuses to do nothing slowly’.

His letter comes as the Department for Levelling-up revealed that 35 house builders had now signed the Government pledge to fund cladding and building fire safety upgrades as a matter of urgency.

This means developers will spend around £2bn upgrading their own developments and pay an extra £3bn into Government coffers through the new building safety levy on residential development.

Gove has now written to the CPA demanding to know why relevant manufacturers have failed to follow the house builders’ lead.

“In January, I asked property developers and construction product manufacturers to make a public funding commitment by early March, he writes.

“Unlike the approach taken by developers, manufacturers have failed to make any such commitment. This is simply not good enough.”

Recognising an earlier response from CPA chief executive Peter Capelhorn, he continues: “Your letter proposes several reasons why making such commitments would be challenging or require years of preparatory work.

“Leaseholders do not have the luxury of waiting years for every building to be assessed before funding is committed, and five years on from the Grenfell Tragedy, there is little in your letter to suggest that manufacturers are ready to show leadership and play their part in bringing this unacceptable situation to an end.”

“The scale of this injustice should have spurred manufacturers into doing more, at speed, and it is disappointing that the sector appears instead to be using it as an excuse to do nothing, slowly,” says Gove.

“It is unacceptable that there has been no clear acknowledgement that actions taken by cladding and insulation manufacturers have contributed to the problem, and that manufacturers have individually and collectively failed to come forward with a proposal for playing their part in addressing it.

“As such, I now consider our negotiations to have concluded. I have instructed my officials to do whatever it takes to make sure that construction product manufacturers are held to account through the powers that I am establishing in the Building Safety Bill.

“My new recovery unit will pursue firms that have failed to do the right thing, including through the courts.

“I will consider carefully how to use other powers at my disposal to make sure that there are significant commercial and reputational consequences for those firms that have not stepped up.”

Source: Construction Enquirer

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