The results of the asbestos management assurance process will be published in spring next year. Seventy-seven per cent. of schools have responded so far, but we expect all state-funded schools and academies to participate, so we have reopened the assurance process from today until February 2019 to give them a further opportunity to do so.
The problem with publishing this long-awaited information in the spring is that that is likely to be too late to properly influence the spending review. Given that 85% of schools have asbestos and the risks are getting greater as those buildings age, will the Minister make a serious commitment to providing the funding to schools to tackle that asbestos? Otherwise, there is no real incentive for them to come up with a plan, given the pinch on their budgets.
So far, 17,000 state-funded schools have responded to the survey; of those, 68% were assured by the appropriate responsible body. Since 2015, we have allocated £5.6 billion to those responsible for school building for essential maintenance, including removing or encapsulating asbestos when that is the safest course of action. In addition, through the £4.4 billion priority school building programme, we are rebuilding or refurbishing buildings in the worst condition, and asbestos is a factor in choosing which schools to rebuild.