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Developers to face legal action if they reject £4bn plan to tackle cladding crisis

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The Housing secretary Michael Gove will today announce plans to overhaul the government’s previous proposals for tackling the cladding crisis.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 in which 72 people died, recommendations from phase 1 of the Grenfell inquiry has led to major changes in fire safety standards.

But the Fire Safety Act 2021 does not protect leaseholders from facing huge bills to fund remedial work on their homes.

The money for fixing dangerous cladding must come “from those who are responsible”, Mr Gove told BBC One’s Breakfast programme today.

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“Ultimately, the key question is who put that cladding up? They are the individuals, they are the companies who should pay to make sure that cladding is safe. Some companies have been, to my mind, responsible and right in removing their cladding, others have not. They have not fulfilled their responsibilities, now is the time we should.”

Gove’s predecessor as Housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, had proposed offering tens of thousands of pounds in loans to leaseholders to fund the repairs.

“It’s wrong that leaseholders, the people who are in those flats, should pay, and in many cases the sums concerned are sums that these poor individuals can’t pay. It is the case with companies that do have significant turnover, significant turnover going out, they can pay,” Gove explained.

“We hope there will be a recognition of shared responsibility, but if necessary then we can always use legal means and the ultimate backstop of tax to make sure that they pay. But what I want to do is work with companies because the overwhelming number of people in the sector do want to work with us to sort this out.”

In a letter to industry bosses over the weekend, Mr Gove said developers must sign up to the £4bn plan to tackle the issue by earlier March, or face action under new laws.

If firms refuse to cooperate, the government could restrict their access to state funding along with their use of planning powers, and take them to court.

Mr Gove is expected to meet with campaigners on the issue this morning, prior to his announcement to the House of Commons scheduled for 3:30 this afternoon.

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No 10 has still not received Sue Gray report, says minister

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A minister has said that Downing Street has likely still not received Sue Gray’s report.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told Sky News that he had “spoke[n] to someone in Downing Street about half an hour ago and they certainly didn’t indicate it had been received – I don’t know a lot more than you do but I’ve certainly got no information as of right now that it’s been received.”

The report into alleged lockdown violations by government officials has been delayed following confirmation of a criminal investigation into the matter.

Sue Gray, the second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office has been investigating the matter after the No 10’s permanent secretary Simon Case stepped aside after apologising for attending one of the reported gatherings.

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Chris Philp was also quizzed over whether he still agrees with remarks he recently expressed when asked if he saw the prime minister as “a model of moral integrity” during BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? Programme earlier this month.

“Yes I do,” he said: “He is someone who is working night and day and has been since he became Prime Minister two and a half years ago – he’s delivered Brexit, which obviously he thought was difficult or impossible; he delivered a landslide General Election victory; we’ve since been hit by Covid and he and his team having been working night and day to get us through this pandemic, as a result of which we’ve had a European-leading booster programme.

He argued that “None of that is an accident” claiming that: “it’s come as the result of an enormous amount of hard work that’s been led by the Prime Minister. I think the results speak louder than words.”

Mr Philp also told Sky News that the National Insurance hike “is going ahead,” following reports

National Insurance contributions are set to rise from 13.8% to 15.05% from 1 April to fund a new health and social care levy. This comes alongside forecasts that the energy price cap will be permitted to rise by a minimum of £400, with the increased prices coming into force from April.

“It was approved by the whole cabinet, it was passed by Parliament with a significant majority and the money is needed to fund the NHS which is something that is a national priority,” he went on.

“It’s £36 billion over three years to fund the NHS and social care – we need to put that number in to make sure the NHS has the money it needs to recover after the pandemic, and this is a proportionate way of finding that money.”

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Nigerians are now seeing the positive outcome of my government’s policies, says Buhari

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President Muhammadu buhari 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said the economic policies of his government are achieving good result.

The president said this at the commissioning ceremony of BUA Cement’s new three million metric tonnes per annum cement line in Sokoto.

According to Buhari, “In the past two weeks, I was in Ogun and Kaduna states where I commissioned projects. Those ones, with this project undertaken by BUA Cement, show that our policies are working.”

The president then called on private sector operators to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the policies to grow their businesses and also create employment opportunities. Buhari said the responsibility of growing the economy rested squarely on the shoulders of both the public and private sectors.

He therefore called for the collaboration of both for the nation’s economic development. While noting that each of the states in the country is endowed with resources that could be converted to wealth, Buhari said his government was ready to introduce policies that would facilitate the exploitation of the nation’s abundant natural resources.

The president called on building material manufacturers to do all in their power to bring down the prices of the items.

Earlier in his address, Chairman of BUA Group of Companies, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, said the company was resolute to make cement available and affordable to Nigerians irrespective of their location.

He said this was the rationale behind the construction of four new cement lines in the last five years.

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Electing Tinubu as president for Nigeria’s good, says Sanwo-Olu

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu says All Progressives national leader Bola Tinubu, is the most qualified Nigerian to be president in 2023.

The governor said Mr Tinubu’s qualification rested on his demonstrated capacity in deploying a mix of genius and statecraft to nurture a city on the brink of a flourishing economy.

”Tinubu’s practicable ideas in governance makes him the most qualified successor and saleable choice for the job. Our country is the most populous black nation in the world and the responsibility that comes with that is enormous. No doubt that the destiny of the entire black race is tied to the greatness of Nigeria,” stated Mr Sanwo-Olu during the formal inauguration of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (ABAT) movement’s working committee in Ikeja.

“If our country must be great, we have the responsibility to choose the leadership that will bring about true transformation across every facet of our national life,” the Lagos governor added. “Who is that rallying figure that should lead us in this journey? The answer is deeply connected to our mission and purpose here today. That person must be a detribalised Nigerian and a bridge-builder, who has been tested and trusted.”

He further stressed that the person must be a thinker, who must sustain the legacy “our current president is leaving behind.”

“That person is the reason we are inaugurating this movement for the actualisation of his presidential ambition,” explained Mr Sanwo-Olu. “That person is our great leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The ABAT movement was conceived and set up by members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) in Lagos to actualise Mr Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

The Lagos governor stated that the indisputable capability of Tinubu to effectively manage human and material resources for visible progress stood him out as the most qualified Nigerian to be president in 2023.

He added that the progress in Lagos remained a visible experiment initiated by the APC leader. Mr Sanwo-Olu said Nigeria had continued to shoulder the burden of the black race, and the country’s transformation into a stable economy would be a source of pride to the black man.

According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, in 2023, the country needs a capable leader with progressive ideas to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari and build on the progress recorded by the current administration.

Mr Sanwo-Olu also noted that Mr Tinubu’s name was synonymous with growth and development and possessed a Midas touch to positively turn around the resources of the country for the general good.

He said the event was to raise foot soldiers, team leaders and cheerleaders, who would pursue the movement’s objectives and cascade down its messages to every voter at the ward level, with commitment and passion.

The governor charged all selected for leadership roles in the movement to reflect Tinubu’s political ideals of openness and tolerance in their engagement and mobilisation.

APC stalwart James Odumbaku said the forthcoming general elections presented another opportunity for Nigerians to make the right choice, to keep the country on the path of development.

GAC leader Tajudeen Olusi described Mr Tinubu as “a genius” in statecraft, adding that the APC leader was a saleable article in the political market.

”We have to be prepared and determined because the contest would be a battle of might and strength,” Mr Olusi said.

(NAN)

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