Leaders from 25 councils across England have joined other regional representatives in pledging to continue vital building safety work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pledge, initially agreed on 16 April by regional mayors and housing leaders, commits the councils to continue removing unsafe cladding from residential tower blocks where it can be done safely in line with public health guidance.
Northern leaders among the 25 new signatories of the pledge include the leaders of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and Salford councils.
Building safety minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “In order to ensure the safety of residents, building safety work must resume where it can be done safely and in line with public health guidance.
“The agreement reached with local leaders from across the country is an important step that demonstrates a shared commitment to ensuring this vital work continues during the pandemic.”
As part of the agreement, those working on cladding remediation work will be given clear information and advice to guarantee their safety and limit the spread of COVID-19.
The 25 new signatories have joined regional mayors such as Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, in signing the pledge.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Everyone’s home should be safe to live in. I see it as a fundamental basic right – which is why Liverpool backs the building safety pledge. Even during a pandemic such as this one we must find a way to ensure those buildings that have unsafe cladding are fixed.
“As long as the works required comply with current national guidelines around COVID-19, I would urge all high-rise building safety work to continue.”
Later this month, the government is set to launch its £1 billion Building Safety Fund which aims to give private and social landlords grants to help them remove dangerous cladding.