Rishi Sunak accused of ‘halving’ school rebuilds as chancellor amid RAAC scandal

The federal government has been accused of halving the variety of colleges that might be rebuilt within the 2021 spending evaluation. This evaluation was performed throughout the interval Rishi Sunak served as chancellor. 

Former civil servant Jonathan Slater advised the BBC that this was regardless of a suggestion from the Division for Schooling, the place he served because the Everlasting Secretary, to double the quantity to 200.

Slater stated that from 2016 to 2020 round 300 to 400 colleges wanted to be refurbished per yr.

However he was solely supplied funding to “substitute about 100 colleges per yr”, he revealed.


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He added: “It’s irritating in fact when for you an important factor is for the precedence to be given to security.”

“The spending evaluation was accomplished a yr after I left the division, and I used to be completely amazed to see that the choice made by the federal government was to halve the varsity rebuilding programme down from 100 a yr to 50 a yr.”

On the time of this spending evaluation in 2021, Rishi Sunak was chancellor.

It comes after new considerations had been expressed final week by the DfE over RAAC, a light-weight, bubbly type of concrete that’s normally present in roofs and sometimes in partitions and flooring. 

Bolstered autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is vulnerable to collapse.

Evaluation revealed by the Labour Celebration discovered that spending on college rebuilding between 2019 and 2020 was at £765 million, however this fell to £560 million the next yr.

The Division for Schooling has stated it contacted 104 extra colleges within the wake of research of latest instances after 52 of the 156 academic settings containing the concrete took protecting steps to date this yr.

Schooling secretary Gillian Keegan has vowed this morning to publish an inventory of the colleges affected by the concrete disaster this week.

Ms Keegan was requested whether or not it’s attainable that folks will ship their kids to a faculty with out figuring out it’s on the listing.

She advised the BBC: “Effectively, we’re hoping that’s not the case, as a result of we’ve spoken by way of the caseworker with every one of many colleges and we’ve given them the template (letter to tell dad and mom) and we’re simply going to double-check that.

“We are going to publish the listing, however I do need to double-check that the varsity has had the chance – as a result of not all the colleges are again but – to inform all dad and mom.”

Pressed additional, she stated: “We’ll publish it this week.”

In the meantime, Labour has accused the federal government of being in “full chaos” over unsafe concrete in colleges.

Shadow schooling secretary Bridget Phillipson has stated it’s “important” the federal government publishes the listing of all affected colleges “as quickly as attainable”.

“We’re already seeing as much as 100 colleges closing with experiences extra could be compelled to shut,” she stated.

“It’s a scandal that as kids are simply returning to highschool ministers are nonetheless not being upfront in regards to the scale of what we face.

“In the event that they don’t (publish the listing), we’ll pressure a vote within the Home of Commons to make it possible for dad and mom can know precisely what’s happening.”