Council will have to pay £31m for sprinklers
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.