'We got stuff wrong' over cladding crisis, Michael Gove admits

10 January 2022, 10:10 | Updated: 17 May 2023, 09:33

Michael Gove cannot say how many dangerous buildings there are

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has admitted the Government "did get stuff wrong" in the cladding crisis.

The admission comes after it was announced developers must agree to a £4 billion plan to fix dangerous cladding on low-rise flats by early March or risk new laws forcing them to act.

But he said some of those that argued they were abiding by building regulations at the time did not have a "strong case".

He told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "It's also the case that there were lots of steps that were taken which put people at risk, and without wanting to pre-empt what the independent inquiry into Grenfell will conclude, I think it is... you would be hard-pressed to say that putting, essentially, sheets of liquid petrol encased in metal on the side of a tower block was the right thing to do."

Read more: Lawyer facing £70k cladding removal bill could go bankrupt and lose her job if told to pay

He added: "I think it's fair to say that, actually, those who argue that they were compliant in doing that, I don't think have a very strong case.

"I think you'd have to be a very, very, very selective reader of the evidence there in order to draw that conclusion."

Cladding crisis: Buildings may be constructed to deliberately avoid need for fire regulations

Cladding Crisis: Leaseholder charged £180,000 bill for cladding

But, Michael Gove added it was still not clear how many buildings need remedial work.

He said there is a "particular problem in the system" which "means that people have themselves to come forward and say 'We believe that this building needs work'."

And he said: "We can't be absolutely precise about the exact number in scope. That is one of the things that I hope that we can do in conversation with owners and with developers at the moment."

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