A 'decent government' would have acted in lockdown over unsafe concrete school buildings, states James O'Brien

1 September 2023, 13:28 | Updated: 7 September 2023, 11:40

James on 'ideological cover' the Tories have used to justify austerity

By Anna Fox

As schools are forced to shut amid aerated concrete safety concerns, James criticises the Tories for delayed action costing children's education.

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James O'Brien began by comparing the "energy expended" on "desperate people in dinghies", compared with the "energy expended on the fact that schools are likely falling apart around children's ears".

Continuing, he stated the dilapidation of schools was a "direct consequence of 13 years of Conservative rule that began with so-called austerity".

James added that lies perpetrated by George Osborne and David Cameron insinuated that "it was Gordon Brown and the Labour Party's fault that economic collapse occurred" was an "ideological cover" to "strip back public sector funding".

He continued stating they used the "ideological cover" to "abandon the Building for Schools project that was already in place, to shut Sure Start centres, and to close fire stations".

Read more: School classrooms in England forced to close if they were made with certain type of concrete prone to collapsing

Schools Minister would be okay with kids under propped up classroom ceilings

Asserting his frustration at the news, James stated: "Fast forward 13 years, and here we are learning that schools are being shut a few days before the new term starts because of the danger of them literally collapsing".

READ MORE: I'd let kids sit under propped-up classroom ceilings despite fears of school concrete collapse, minister claims

Blaming the government for not acting while schools were closed during lockdown, James said: "Imagine what a decent government could have done.

"Instead of shifting billions of pounds to their mates with substandard PPE, they could have not only kept construction workers in work, but they could have fixed up loads of temporarily empty schools for the generation."

104 schools have been told to shut buildings containing reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) amid fears it could collapse, with action already underway on another 52.

Some schools will need to relocate to new accommodation while safety measures are taken, with some having their ceilings propped up.

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