Building safety row explained: is Gove really going to shut down housebuilders?

Gove Nov 2021 1

Housebuilders are locked in negotiations after Michael Gove threatened to shut them down unless they pay £4bn to repair housing blocks affected by the fire safety crisis. Joey Gardiner assesses what is at stake

Last Monday Michael Gove issued a series of amendments to the Building Safety Bill which dramatically upped the stakes in the negotiations between the development industry and the housing department over the question of who will pay for historic fire safety issues.

The complex amendments, which will be debated in the House of Lords this week, aim to put in to law both Gove’s promise that leaseholders will not have to pay for repairs, estimated to cost anything up to £15bn in total, as well as mechanisms to wring the money out of housebuilders instead.

But with volume housebuilders arguing they have already agreed to pay to repair homes they have themselves built, as well as a £2bn tax due to come in this April, they are privately outraged the government is targeting them for even more, and are now locked in negotiations to limit any further liability. With Gove due to appear in front of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee later this afternoon, Housing Today here answers the key questions determining the current situation, and assesses the likely next steps.

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