Owners of flats in smaller buildings will be exempted from the cost of cladding removal

Government plans suggest thousands of flat-owners will be spared the cost of removing the dangerous cladding from buildings taller than 11 meters (36 ft).

In a clear climb, the Housing Secretary Michael Gove It seems instead set to pressure developers to cover the expense of cladding changes, which are estimated to cost up to £4 billion.

A Treasury letter reported on Friday by BBC Newsnight suggests it will threaten taxes or legislation to cover the costs faced by leaseholders, with no further money coming from the government.

Currently, only leaseholders in buildings taller than 18 meters can use the grant to replace unsafe cladding under measures introduced in England. Grenfell Tower fire 72 people died in 2017

The letter to Gov from Chief Secretary of Treasury Simon Clarke said loans for smaller buildings would be replaced with a “limited grant scheme”.

“You may use a high-level ‘threat’ of tax or legal settlement in discussions with developers as a means of obtaining voluntary contributions,” it read.

“I am pleased to see that you embrace the principle that the taxpayer should not be on the hook for further costs of treatment. To reiterate, my approval of this new package for 11-18m buildings is therefore Further conditional on government funding.

a spokesperson for End Our Cladding Scandal The campaign said “the devil is in the detail”, the government letter said, adding that the measures do not extend to “non-cladding” costs.

“This is a welcome step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go for the journey,” the spokesperson said.

“It is not certain, however, if we are reaching the destination we want to achieve, but we are cautiously optimistic.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that the measures are expected to be announced on Monday.

ministry spokesperson Accommodation, communities and the local government did not dispute the contents of the leaked letter, but said: “We will not comment on speculation.”