Government criticised over ‘confusion’ around fire safety funding
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24 November 2017
Nottingham City Council has accused the Government of sending out mixed messages on whether it will help fund fire safety measures following the Grenfell disaster.
In this week’s Autumn Budget speech, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that “if any local authority cannot access funding to pay for essential fire safety work, they should contact us immediately…we will not let financial constraints get in the way of essential safety work.”
However, the Council says that on the same day it received a letter from Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, which said that ‘local authorities should draw on existing resources to implement these measures’ and that the Goverrnment would only ’consider the removal of financial constraints for local authorities where these stand in the way of essential work being done’.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning Housing and Heritage, said: “The Government is sending out mixed messages on this issue.
“On the one hand, the Chancellor has said they will not let financial constraints get in the way of essential safety work. But on the other, the Housing Minister is saying that local authorities should draw on existing resources and has already turned down our request for funding seemingly because the installation of sprinklers is somehow not essential despite expert advice to the contrary.
“In Nottingham we are pressing ahead with an £8.4 million programme of fire safety work in the city and the Minister has praised the proactive approach we have taken.”
“We urge the Government to put its money where its mouth is and provide the additional funding we need for this essential work so we don’t have to take money out of other vital housing schemes.”