Construction Enquirer House builders, due to pay £5bn for fire safety retrofits, now call for burden to be shared

House builders are calling on the Government to chase suppliers, contractors and overseas developers for cash to tackle the nation’s building fire safety crisis.

The plea comes as 35 house builders agreed to stump up an estimated £2.2bn to fund improvements to their own buildings above 11m in height.

But house builders argue they are also being called upon to fund works through the Residential Property Levy on thousands more homes contravening the Government’s polluter pays principles.

The Government also aims to raise £3bn from its levy on developers to fund remediation works at thousands of ‘orphan’ residential buildings deemed to be unsafe.

Trade body, the Home Builders Federation, claims that UK house builders built less than 10% of the estimated 8,000 buildings that the Government estimates need remediation.

The HBF said the bulk of the remaining 7,200 ‘orphan’ buildings, where the Government expects house builders to fund remediation works, were built by foreign companies or contractors.  Older buildings is said were built largely by local authorities that later had cladding attached for aesthetic or thermal efficiency reasons.

A spokesman for the HBF said: “Government must act to make other responsible parties pay their share and not take the easy option of targeting UK builders again for a problem they did not create.

“Saying ‘it’s too hard’ to get contributions from other parties is unacceptable and is an affront to UK businesses who employ hundreds of thousands and pay billions in UK taxes.”

He added: “We also believe that other parties, including cladding companies, foreign builders and their UK based contractors, building owners etc need to be part of the discussion.

“As Government begins to outline plans for a second new tax on UK house builders in addition to a self-remediation pledge for buildings above 11m it would be fair to consider pursuing other sectors, especially in light of evidence received by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

“If ministers are genuinely interested in the ‘polluter pays’ principle then that seems fair.”

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