(Bloomberg) --

Builders in the UK will have six weeks to sign a government contract committing them to pay for upgrades of cladding in houses and apartment blocks, cabinet minister Michael Gove said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK live in buildings that were deemed a fire risk following the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington, London in 2017. A subsequent change in government regulation banned flammable building cladding, but left leaseholders on the hook for upgrades and in many cases unable to sell their homes.

The new contract will be issued on Monday, Gove said in interviews with UK media on Sunday, ensuring more building companies pay up for repairs. Some such as Crest Nicholson Plc had already pledged to fix safety issues, which pushed it into a loss.

“Some have already indicated that they will,” he told Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday program. “If they don’t sign the contract, we’re making sure, in effect, that they won’t be able to build anything more in the future.”

Also to be announced on Monday is a government plan to cut ambulance and hospital waiting times by treating elderly and vulnerable people at home. As many as 50,000 people a month will be supported by clinicians in “virtual wards,” the Department of Health & Social Care said in a press release on Sunday.

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