Fear that over-cautious school closures opens a Pandoras Box crisis
Gillian Keegan apologises after being caught swearing
Gillian Keegan is today being slammed as the woman who helped shut down Britain, after her decision to close schools has sparked a precedent which may shut many other public buildings containing bubbly concrete.
Ms Keegan took decisions about which school buildings needed to close “unilaterally”, according to Sky News.
Neither did she get the agreement of the Whitehall education committee that had been looking at the issue for yers, merely getting No 10 to sign it off.
Ms Keegan has previously said she took the most cautious of all the options presented to her by officials, meaning the Government now faces having to justify not acting the same way with all public buildings – including courts and hospitals.
Some in Whitehall now disagree that the technical advice shown to Ms Keegan, which was used to justify school closures, demonstrated a need to shut schools.
READ MORE: RAAC scandal hits House of Commons as search underway for crumbling concrete
This morning the Government denies opening a “Pandora’s box”, arguing that schools are different as they are “less likely to having building managers on-site”.
However questions remain around whether the collapse of a hospital or courtroom could make the Government liable in the courts.
The presence of children is also being used as a justification for schools being the exception rather than the rule when it comes to RAAC discoveries.
A Tory source has now told Sky News: “There is a big fear this is going to spiral”.
This morning the usually Tory-friendly Telegraph says Ms Keegan “is likely to be remembered as the woman who shut down Britain”.
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Concerns about a Pandora’s Box of incoming RAAC scandals grow today, as NHS England has told hospitals to be ready to evacuate if buildings crumble.
NHS cleaners have also been told to keep an eye and ear out for creaking walls, leaks and piles of dust, in a hope to spot potential RAAC.
Yesterday fears spread to court buildings as well, with tests being ordered after RAAC was found at a site in Harrow.
In May, the agency responsible for the courts said around two percent of the total courts estate had been identified as buildings of concern, however this only covered buildings built from 1960-1980.
The Harrow court, built in 1991, suggests more, newer, justice buildings may also be affected, and may have to close unless the Government can come up with a good reason why.
It also emerged inspectors in Parliament are now also on the hunt for RAAC concrete, bringing the crisis closer to home for MPs.
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