14 April 2022

 Housebuilders of all sizes now set to carry the can for cladding “they never did”

The Government, who have been negotiating positively with the largest developers on a solution to the cladding crisis, has announced that to fix a disaster of its own making, remediation works will be funded by a new extension to the Building Safety Levy (tax) that every new build developer will be forced to pay, whether they were responsible or not.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “As well as not sorting this issue for five years, not being forthcoming with the list of guilty parties, unsafe buildings and required works, the Government now appear to have decided that innocent builders of all sizes, who have never worked on any dangerously cladded building, should pay for the failures of those who have. Innocent leaseholders shouldn’t pay and neither should innocent builders. The entire housebuilding industry now appears to be paying for unsafe works that for the vast majority of them, they never did”

The policy, which was announced one day before purdah, states that the Building Safety Levy (BSL) will be extended and chargeable on all new residential buildings in England. This is a sudden shift of direction from previous consultations that the NFB responded to and workshops we took part in, which identified that only higher-risk developments within scope of the Gateway 2 regulatory process will be targeted.

Beresford continued, “It is good to see cladding manufacturers now targeted but developers came together early to work with the Government, agreed one cladding tax and took the Governments word on the other. The Government has gone back on their word and as with planning reform, it appears as though those who lose out the most will be SME builders.

In the last few years construction has had eleven new taxes put on it, so if the Government is desperate to raise £3bn on the backs of British business, it must do so knowing it will impact SME businesses and the Government’s own housebuilding ambitions”.