The government will fully fund the removal of dangerous cladding from council and housing association blocks at an estimated cost of £400m, Theresa May has announced.
Mrs May made the announcement at Prime Minister’s Questions after months of pressure on the issue from Labour MPs.
“Councils and housing associations must remove dangerous cladding quickly, but paying for these works must not undermine their ability to do important maintenance and repair work,” Mrs May said.
The commitment comes ahead of the publication on Thursday of Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on building safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which claimed the lives of 71 people.
Housing secretary James Brokenshire will lay out further plans for the move later this week, Mrs May added.
The prime minister said that since the Grenfell Tower fire last June, the fire and rescue services had visited more than 1,250 high-rise buildings and that “immediate action” had been taken to ensure the safety of every resident.
Recruitment firm Manpower claimed last year that remedial work on high-rise tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell fire had led to a recruitment spike in construction.
Labour MP David Lammy, who has been a prominent campaigner for those affected by Grenfell, claimed Mrs May had “backed down” over the issue.
He tweeted: “PM has backed down and said the government will pay to take down cladding from tower blocks after almost a year of saying no.
“I can’t believe I had to fight for this and I can’t believe the government refused, but they did.
“Well done all UK Labour colleagues campaigning on this for months.”
Concerns still remain over privately owned tower blocks with dangerous cladding, as it remains unclear over who should pay for work.
In a high-profile case last month, Barratt Developments agreed to foot the bill for the replacement of cladding on a residential building in Croydon which had failed combustibility tests.