Reading West MP votes to cover up dangerous school buildings

15 Aug 2023

The Liberal Democrats have condemned Alok Sharma MP after he voted to hide detailed data on crumbling school buildings in Reading.

On the 23rd of May, 296 Conservative MPs, including Reading West MP Alok Sharma, voted against publishing detailed information regarding the condition of every school building in the country.

The Department for Education was given the data following the Condition Data Collection survey conducted between 2017 and 2019. 

After pressure from Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Munira Wilson, the Government revealed parts of the survey data, including that:

  • 7,158 schools in England contain at least one building component, such as a roof, door or light fittings, deemed to be “life expired and/or at serious risk of imminent failure”;
  • Almost nine in 10 schools have at least one building component that has a “major defect” or is “not operating as intended”.
  • Overall, more than 240,000 fixtures and fittings were found to be defective. 

However, the Government has still refused to confirm if schools in Reading have these defects and today voted to keep the information concealed despite a previous pledge to publish the data in full.

Reading Liberal Democrat Councillor Meri O’Connell said: 

“It is an absolute disgrace that Alok Sharma would vote to cover up whether our school buildings are built with dangerous or ‘life-expired’ materials.

“Parents in Reading deserve to know whether their child is being sent to a school that is safe and fit for purpose, or to a school liable to collapse at any moment.

“Reading Liberal Democrats believe that investing in education is investing in our future generation. Every crumbling school is a concrete sign of years of Conservative neglect of our public services. Parents, staff and pupils have all had enough of being taken for granted.”

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