Rob Roberts, Member of Parliament for Delyn, urges politicians from all sides to work together to protect our school children and swiftly sort out any RAAC concrete-affected schools.
Speaking in the House of Commons following a statement by the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, about schools built using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), the Delyn MP made it clear that this issue should not be about political point-scoring or blaming each other. He told the house that the UK and Devolved Governments and politicians on all sides should be united in their efforts to fix this problem swiftly for the benefit of our young.
Mr Roberts also told the Secretary of State that he thinks the UK Government should commit to funding all schools and councils impacted by this problem as the matter pre-dates devolution. The full financial burden shouldn’t simply be pushed onto the Welsh Government’s already overstretched resources.
Mr Roberts said:
“So far, I am disappointed with how our politicians and Governments are handling this issue.
“The main priority here is the safety of students, teaching, and support staff in our schools. This problem pre-dates devolution, and probably many politicians in power now, people need to stop blaming each other for this and simply fix the problem and ensure that it can never happen again.
“On Monday evening, I told the Secretary of State for Education that this must not be a political hot potato used to score points against opposition parties, and that we should all be working together at pace to sort this. I also asked the Secretary of State to commit to providing the necessary funding needed to remedy this issue to enable our young people to get back into a safe learning environment.
“I was frustrated by the Secretary of State's response and I have written to her in the strongest terms asking her not to duck responsibility and to ensure the children of Wales don’t have their education undermined further than it already is under Labour."
On Monday, Mr Roberts wrote to Flintshire County Council asking them to update him on the steps they are taking to identify affected schools, the number of schools they already know are affected by this issue, and their plans to protect and support students. He has offered the council any support they feel they might need. He awaits a response.
Mr Roberts has also written to the Secretary of State for Health, the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales, and the Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board about the possible presence of RAAC in our hospital and social care buildings.