Bid to save leaseholders from huge bills to remove cladding defeated by government

The government has defeated a bid to save householders from bills running into tens of thousands of pounds to get rid of combustible cladding of the kind blamed for the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

As a result of the vote, leaseholders in blocks of flats less than 18m high look set to be forced to take out loans to be paid back over many years, potentially knocking thousands off the value of their homes.

Under an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill passed earlier this month by the House of Lords, the state would have had to pay the upfront cost of removing the dangerous materials, imposing a levy on cladding producers, contractors and developers to recoup the cost.

Proposals to pass on costs to leaseholders were this evening branded “morally unacceptable” by one Tory MP, while another said the government’s plans “cannot be supported”.

But the revolt was comfortably seen off by a margin of 322 votes to 253.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick last month attempted to defuse the row by promising £3.5bn of cash to help homeowners.

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