Tice launches stunning attack on ‘clueless’ Sunak ‘left floundering’ about ‘woeful’ tax

Disability action group leader speaks at cladding protest

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The Chancellor announced a new tax on property developers in his Budget speech last month aimed at helping to replace cladding on thousands of flats. But Reform Party leader Richard Tice believes the minister was “left floundering” while attempting to clarify how far the money will go in actually solving the problem.

Mr Sunak faced questions from MPs as part of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review yesterday.

During this, he was forced to admit the new Residential Property Developer Tax will simply form part of a £5billion announced by the Government in February, rather than provide an additional £2billion in funds.

“[The new tax] will help pay for the £5billion,” he clarified.

Mr Tice said this means “[Mr Sunak’s] developer tax [is] woefully short on total bill”.

This is equal to “admitting [that] leaseholders have to pay for other’s mistakes”, he added.

When asked where the rest of the money will come from to bridge the gap, Mr Sunak’s response was vague.

“The rest is paid as with everything else,” he said.

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The Chancellor suggested the Review committee was “straying into territory that is not my portfolio responsibility”.

But this wasn’t good enough for Mr Tice, who believes the “clueless Chancellor [was] left floundering on cladding scandal numbers”.

The true cost of repairing flammable materials on blocks of flats is estimated to fall between the range of £10-50billion, according to the Times.

The cladding scandal gripped the nation’s attention after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, which claimed 72 lives.

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It has received much less attention over the past two years during the Covid pandemic.

But it remains an important topic for many Britons – especially so-called “mortgage prisoners” who are unable to sell their homes because concerns over cladding mean potential mortgage providers are unwilling to lend to would-be buyers.

Campaign group End Our Cladding Scandal (EOCS) estimates there are around two million people who fit into this category in England alone.

The Chancellor’s new tax is expected to raise £200 million a year for the crisis, falling far short of the mark.

Emma Byrne, of the EOCS campaign, is quoted in the Times as saying “a £2billion developer tax over 10 years would be laughable if the situation wasn’t so tragic”.

“We question how the Government can see fit to tax developers, whose inferior construction work is a primary cause of the current crisis, only £2billion, while handing a bill of anywhere between £10billion and £50billion to leaseholders.”

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