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New fire safety support scheme launches

Leaseholders in Wales who are facing significant financial hardship over fire safety issues can apply for a new Welsh Government support scheme from today (Monday June 27).

The Leaseholder Support Scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, will open at 10am and will provide tailored, independent advice to leaseholders in affected homes.

It will initially be targeted at leaseholders who are owner occupiers or who have become displaced residents but applications will be monitored and eligibility kept under review to ensure those who most need support have access.

Climate change minister Julie James said: ‘Today, we are launching the Leaseholder Support Scheme which will help those who need support the most.

‘I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the external partners and sector experts who have assisted us in developing this scheme at pace.’

All leaseholders eligible for the scheme will now receive advice from an independent financial adviser, with the costs fully covered by the Welsh Government.

The advice will support them in making the right choice for them and, if the sale of their property is the right route, the Welsh Government will enable them to sell their property at a fair market value set by an independent valuer.

Properties bought would become a new social home and either rented back to the leaseholder or rented to a household in housing need.

It is not yet clear how many leaseholders could be covered by the scheme but there is no specific financial limit within the overall fire safety support budget of £375 million over the next three years.

Full guidance on the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, are on the Welsh Government website.

The minister said: ‘Addressing fire safety defects in medium and high-rise buildings must go beyond cladding to make these buildings as safe as they can be.

‘This has been our premise from the outset and, although it makes identifying, addressing and resolving issues significantly more complex, it is the right approach. There are no quick or easy fixes, but we cannot compromise on achieving the right, sustainable solutions.

‘Anything less leaves the door open to the risk of further issues arising and it is important to me that, once these issues are resolved, they remain resolved. We must do this properly, to get it right now and for the future.’

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