Gove vows to make Arconic pay for their role in building safety crisis

Cladding removal

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On March 29th, 2023, a letter from Michael Gove (published on Twitter) was sent to Arconic, urging the company to acknowledge their role in the use of flammable cladding and insulation products. The letter stated that those who manufactured and sold these products have a moral and financial obligation to contribute to the remediation costs for unsafe buildings in the United Kingdom.

The letter specifically addressed Arconic, highlighting their lack of engagement in industry-wide negotiations that took place in 2022 and the fact that they have not contributed any funding towards the cost of fixing dangerous buildings.

Gove’s letter expressed his disappointment in Arconic’s failure to engage in any meaningful way and noted the company’s spending on legal advice and representation on Grenfell-related matters between 2017 and 2022. The letter invited Arconic to meet with officials to explain how they intend to scope, identify and pay for remediation works.

Gove also mentioned the steps taken by other companies, such as Kingspan and Saint-Gobain, to acknowledge their responsibility and role in paying for remediation. He stressed the importance of a comprehensive package of financial support from construction product manufacturers to restore confidence in the sector and protect people in their homes.

The letter concluded with a deadline of April 12th for Arconic to respond to the request for engagement. Gove emphasised that his department will continue to be driven solely by their commitment to protect people in their homes and that those companies that do not share this commitment must expect to face commercial consequences.

The use of flammable cladding and insulation products was a contributing factor to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, which claimed the lives of 72 people. The aftermath of the tragedy revealed an industry-wide disregard for the safety of residents in their homes, and the UK government has been working to address the issue ever since.

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