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Asbestos Management Assurance Process

Volume 649: debated on Monday 12 November 2018

13. When he plans to publish the results of the asbestos management assurance process survey of schools and academies. (907549)

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.