Coun­cil will have to pay £31m for sprin­klers

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

CASH-STRAPPED Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil faces stump­ing up the huge £31 mil­lion cost of a tower block sprin­kler roll-out af­ter pleas to the gov­ern­ment for fund­ing fell on deaf ears.

Coun­cil leader Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) con­firmed the con­tro­ver­sial pro­gramme to in­stall the fire sup­pres­sion sys­tems in more than 200 high-rises across the city would con­tinue.

He has writ­ten on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions to the Prime Min­is­ter and Hous­ing Sec­re­tary James Bro­ken­shire to re­quest the gov­ern­ment pro­vide £19.4 mil­lion to­wards the move, which was ap­proved by the coun­cil in the wake of the Gren­fell Tower tragedy.

But as yet the gov­ern­ment has made ‘no com­mit­ment’.

Cllr Ward said: “We are mak­ing that com­mit­ment in spite of the fact the gov­ern­ment are mak­ing no fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion what­so­ever, so the en­tire cost of £31 mil­lion will be borne by Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil.

“We’ll con­tinue to lobby the gov­ern­ment to make a con­tri­bu­tion to these costs, but if they dig their heels in and refuse we will make this in­vest­ment in our tower blocks be­cause the safety of our ten­ants comes first.”

It comes as the coun­cil has to make in the re­gion of £100 mil­lion worth of cuts in less than two years. A re­port to the cab­i­net in March stated if the gov­ern­ment did not pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port the money would have to be ob­tained through ‘pru­den­tial bor­row­ing’ in­stead.

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