PM facing questions over concrete crisis – as hospitals told to bolster emergency plans

Schools minister Nick Gibb claimed the government is taking the most proactive approach “in the world” over the concrete crisis following accusations it didn’t heed warnings.

Mr Gibb told Sky News he did not accept criticism from the National Audit Office (NAO) that the Department for Education (DfE) was taking a “sticking plaster approach” to crumbling schools.

Writing in the Times, NAO chief Gareth Davies suggested that there had not been sufficient focus on “unflashy but essential tasks” such as maintaining public buildings that have faced “underinvestment”.

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But Mr Gibb said: “I don’t accept that.

“We are taking more proactive action on that than any other government in the world. We are the government that put out the warning notice in 2018. We are the government that sent questionnaires to every responsible body asking them to tell us about RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in their schools.

It comes as Rishi Sunak and Gillian Keegan face growing pressure over the collapse-prone concrete closing schools, as the education secretary was forced to apologise after claiming others had failed to tackle the crisis in a sweary outburst.

The issue has caused disruption for thousands of pupils just as they go back to school following the summer holidays.


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