School closures due to risk of collapse spark a political crisis in the UK

The closure of schools at risk of collapse because they were built with defective concrete unleashed the first political crisis of the session for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who… The opposition blamed the situation on Monday on a reduction in funds allocated for their rehabilitation When he was Minister of Economy.

The government indicated that 104 schools face a “critical” risk of collapse, and 52 other schools have been repaired. Although he admitted there were still hundreds of inspections to be carried out An official list of the affected centers has not yet been published, some of which will not be able to start classes next September.

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Sunak’s official spokesman said so today “More than 95%” of 22,000 schools In England it is “unaffected”, suggesting up to 1,100 people could suffer structural damage.

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The problems stem from their widespread use in public construction in the United Kingdom between the 1950s and the 1990s. A type of low density concrete known as autoclaved aerated concrete Augmented (RAAC, in English).

This substance is not only found in schools, but also in hospitals, administrative buildings, and homes. It degrades over decades, so it can pose a risk to structures.

Labor education spokeswoman Bridget Phillipson said today: “The Prime Minister has revealed what many parents feared: that the crisis is affecting more schools than they initially thought.”

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He added, “The decisions that (Sunak) took directly when he was Minister of Economy to significantly reduce the number of schools being rehabilitated, are written in black on white.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said in the House of Commons that the executive He takes a “deliberately cautious” stance.In this regard, the safety of students is their “absolute priority.”

But Keegan inflamed the controversy further when some of his microphone-caught statements were broadcast at the end of an interview in which he apparently criticized his colleagues in government and asserted that… “Everyone sits and does nothing.” To address the crisis.

In a later interview, the minister apologized for her “choice of language”, while a spokesman for Downing Street, Sunak’s official office, simply said her comments were “wrong”.


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