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More than 300 high-rises in country with Grenfell-style cladding

Only seven social housing blocks have had cladding systems replaced.

The number of high-rises in England with Grenfell-style cladding has passed 300, but only seven social housing blocks have had the material removed, new Government figures show.

Some 301 out of 314 buildings over 18m with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding are unlikely to meet current building regulations guidance and pose fire hazards, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said.

More than half, 158, are social housing blocks, managed by either local authorities or housing associations.

The Government said “remediation work” is under way on 92 buildings, and has been completed on seven, the MHCLG said.

The Citiscape building in Croydon is one of the more than 300 buildings with Grenfell-style cladding (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

This involves addressing any issues with the exterior cladding and fire safety systems for each building.

Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate said: “This is cladding which has failed safety tests and is considered unsafe.

“It’s shocking that more than eight months on from the Grenfell fire only a tiny proportion of unsafe cladding has been replaced on homes across the country.

“The Government’s lack of leadership has driven delays and caused confusion and it must now step up and take responsibility for ensuring these homes are safe.

“We urge the Secretary of State to do this by providing total clarity on fire-safety and much clearer guidance on who should pay for and carry out these essential works.”

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said the number was “shameful”, and urged ministers to act now to “help fund essential fire safety work”.

In England, 63 local authority areas contain at least one residential building over 18 metres or public sector building with ACM cladding unlikely to meet current regulations.

The MCHLG is not disclosing the precise locations of buildings “to protect public safety”.

The figures come amid several disputes around who should fund the removal of unsafe cladding from private blocks.

Leaseholders at Citiscape, two connected buildings holding 95 flats in Croydon, south London, are awaiting a tribunal decision on who should pay huge costs after their homes were found to be encased in flammable material.

An MHCLG spokesman said:  “Public safety is paramount and following the Grenfell Tower tragedy we acted swiftly to establish a comprehensive testing programme and issued clear guidance to building owners.

“Councils have been working hard to ensure all buildings are safe and work is now underway on 58 per cent of social housing blocks with unsafe cladding.

“We are working with building owners and the fire service to take immediate  steps to ensure these buildings safe now.”

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