Keir Starmer is asked how he’d pay for school rebuilding
Keir Starmer has said he can’t set out whether he’d re-start the Blair Government’s school rebuilding programme, or how he’d pay for it if he did.
The Labour leader said he couldn’t set out such the details thanks to the Government, which is yet to publish a full list of schools affected by the RAAC scandal.
Sir Keir spoke to BBC Breakfast from a school in North London, which has lost use of 15 classrooms thanks to RAAC being discovered in the top floor of one building.
The Labour leader repeatedly criticised David Cameron’s coalition Government for scrapping the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme in 2010, which some believe would have largely addressed the RAAC problem.
However when asked how he would pay for a “whole new generation of schools”, the leader of the opposition told viewers they would have to wait and see.
READ MORE: Fear that over-cautious school closures opens a ‘Pandora’s Box’ crisis
“We will set that out as we get to the GE in terms of our final arrangements for putting before the country.
“But I would just gently point out, without trying to avoid the question, at the moment the Government hasn’t done an audit so nobody even knows the extent of the problem, which is why we’re calling on the Government today: publish the list of schools affected, because then I can answer your question in a much better way.”
The BBC interviewer pointed out that the Conservatives argue they had to scrap the school rebuilding programme due to Labour leaving the country with no money after the 2008 financial crash.
Sir Keir said an incoming Labour Government would “make sure our schools are both open and safe”.
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“Obviously, as we did when we were last in Government, we will have a programme for schools – we’ll set out what that future programme is as we get towards the election.”
Sir Keir will go up against Rishi Sunak at PMQs this lunchtime, the first clash since the start of Parliament’s Summer Recess.
This morning the Government is worrying about how to limit RAAC evacuations to schools only, as fears grow hundreds of public buildings including courtrooms, care homes and hospitals may also be affected by the crumbly concrete.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan is being warned she may have unleashed “Pandora’s Box” with her overly cautious decision to shut down schools.
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