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Waking Watch Relief Fund

Volume 687: debated on Monday 11 January 2021

We expect that the £30 million fund will be open this month, as I said earlier, with the aim to start providing funding for the installation of alarms as quickly as possible. We will work with local authorities and fire and rescue services on the delivery of the fund, and we expect to publish a prospectus with further information on the additional eligibility criteria and evidence requirements as soon as possible.

Residents of Royal Quarter, Kingston in my constituency have contacted me to say that their building has been assessed as having dangerous cladding, but they cannot apply to the waking watch fund, as their building is less than 18 metres tall. Leaving leaseholders to pick up the tab for remediating cladding means that many buildings will not be made safe in the near future. Will the Government commit to funding the remediation of cladding on all buildings as soon as possible, to ensure that they can be made safe, and then claim the money back from those responsible?

I am obliged to the hon. Lady for her question. In our response to this challenge, we have been guided by Dame Judith Hackitt, who advised that we should focus our attention specifically on buildings that are over 18 metres, and that is what we have done. We believe that the £30 million that we have made available will go a long way to helping with the waking watch challenges of many of those buildings. It still remains the responsibility of developers and owners to make safe the buildings that they own or are responsible for and to resolve the defects in them. That is the point I have made from this Dispatch Box before and which I make again today, and it is the point that the building safety Bill will help to remedy.