Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
£30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund now open for applications
Funding targeted at cities with most high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding.
- £30 million fire alarm fund will relieve residents of waking watch costs
- Funding targeted at cities with most high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding
- Builds on £1.6 billion funding to speed up removal of unsafe cladding on eligible buildings
Tens of thousands of residents in high-rise buildings can now access financial support to make their buildings safer while they wait for remediation work to complete, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick recently (31 January 2021) announced as the Waking Watch Relief Fund was opened.
The £30 million fund will protect leaseholders from the high costs of Waking Watches, where a building is continually patrolled in case of a fire, by providing financial support for fire alarms, which will also make buildings safer in the long term.
The fund will be distributed through councils, regional authorities and directly through the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, depending on the location of the building. The funding is available for buildings across England, with £22 million targeted to the cities with most high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding, including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.
Buildings over 18 metres with unsafe cladding systems and where Waking Watch costs have been passed on to leaseholders will be eligible.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick recently said:
We know many people are anxious about the costs of waking watches, which was always only intended as an interim measure while historic safety issues were fixed.
This fund will relieve the financial pressure on residents in these buildings and ensure they will be kept safe. I encourage those who are eligible not to delay and start their applications swiftly so we can distribute the funds as quickly as possible.
The Responsible Person (RP) – the person or business responsible for ensuring the safety of residents in their building – can apply for the fund and provide the evidence needed. The Responsible Persons are encouraged to speak to their local Fire and Rescue Service about the installation of the fire alarms in their building and to keep leaseholders informed.
The criteria for the fund was recently published, setting out which buildings are eligible for funding, the evidence needed to apply and how applications will be assessed, as well as the way the funding is provided.
MHCLG will work closely with councils and Fire and Rescue Services on the delivery of the fund.
The fund is not a substitute for swift remediation of unsafe cladding – for which the government has provided £1.6 billion in financial support.
This builds on steps the government has already taken to support leaseholders, including securing an agreement that owners of flats in buildings without cladding do not need an EWS1 form to sell or re-mortgage their property – benefitting nearly 450,000 homeowners.
These measures are part of the government’s commitment to improve the safety of buildings across the country which will be enshrined in law through the Building Safety Bill in 2021.
Around 95% of the highest risk buildings with unsafe cladding similar to that found on Grenfell Tower have been made safe or have work underway compared to a year ago; with 159 buildings starting work last year compared to 90 in 2019 – representing more buildings on site with remediation work in 2020 than at any point previously.
The Waking Watch Relief Fund will be available to all eligible buildings in England. £22 million of the £30 million funding available has been allocated to the eight metropolitan areas estimated to have the largest number of eligible buildings across England. These areas are:
- Greater London
- Greater Manchester
The remaining £8 million of the fund will be centrally administered and is available to buildings across all other areas of England.
See an outline of the average cost of waking watch per building.
The ‘Responsible Person’, is the person, group, company or other entity that is responsible for ensuring the safety of occupants in their building from fire.
Latest News from
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
Levelling Up Secretary in North East England to sign historic £1.4 billion devolution deal27/01/2023 16:05:00
A landmark devolution deal has been signed in North East England today by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove and eight local leaders in the region.
UK Government signs Islands Growth Deal worth £393m20/01/2023 16:12:00
Minister Malcolm Offord signed the full deal, which includes £50m investment by UK Government, at a joint event in Orkney.
Local communities to get £750,000 for Windrush celebrations19/01/2023 15:10:00
Applications for the Windrush Day Grant Scheme have been opened by the Department for Levelling Up
Levelling Up projects in Wales awarded £208 million by UK Government19/01/2023 13:24:00
A total of 11 projects receive grants from round two of flagship Levelling Up Fund
Landmark Levelling Up Fund to spark transformational change across the UK19/01/2023 10:15:00
More than 100 projects awarded share of £2.1 billion from Round 2 of government’s flagship Levelling Up Fund to create jobs and boost the economy
Thousands of new homes to be built on regenerated brownfield land18/01/2023 10:05:00
£60 million available to councils to revive brownfield sites and make way for high quality new homes.
Jobs and investment boost for Liverpool and East Anglia as Freeports given green light10/01/2023 12:25:00
Freeports in Liverpool and East Anglia have received final government approval meaning the majority of English Freeports are now fully up and running.
Housing Secretary shames three more failing social landlords29/12/2022 11:10:00
Orbit Housing, Lambeth Council and Birmingham City Council latest of 14 providers to be criticised publicly by Michael Gove this year.