Homebuilders agree to put £2bn towards fixing unsafe cladding on high rises in England

More than 35 homebuilders have agreed to put £2bn towards fixing unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings in England identified in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, Michael Gove, the housing secretary, has said.

The move had been expected after Gove asked 53 homebuilders to contribute towards fixing buildings they have had a role in developing. More than 35 said they would commit £2bn, but that still leaves a further £3bn needed to address fire safety problems in high-rise buildings across the country.

Gove said the further £3bn would be raised by an extension to the building safety levy, forcing industry to pay for the remedial work on buildings where the developer cannot be traced or forced to pay up. This will be paid by developers applying for building control approval for higher-risk residential buildings in England.

Gove called on companies yet to sign up to the voluntary pledge to do so, saying they would face the consequences if they do not.

The government is introducing new powers that would allow the housing secretary to block those who refuse to make the commitment from building and selling new homes. The proposed laws, announced in February under the building safety bill, are also intended to make sure leaseholders have a cap on the costs of historical building safety defects.

Gove said: “Today marks a significant step towards protecting innocent leaseholders and ensuring those responsible pay to solve the crisis they helped to cause. I welcome the move by many of the largest developers to do the right thing.

“But this is just the beginning. We will do whatever it takes to hold industry to account, and under our new measures there will be nowhere to hide.”