Rishi Sunak slams Keir Starmer for jumping on latest bandwagon over RAAC scandal

Sunak demands Starmer gets his facts straight over RAAC row

Rishi Sunak has furiously demanded Keir Starmer “get his facts straight” before “he jumps on the latest political bandwagon”. 

Taking to the Commons dispatch box for the first time since the summer recess, Rishi Sunak slammed the Labour leader for never raising school rebuilding prior to the RAAC headlines. 

“He talked about school budgets and talked about what I had done, but let me just walk him through the facts of what that spending review actually did given he brought it up.

“Funding for school maintenance and rebuilding will average £2.6bn a year over this parliament as a result of that spending review, which represents a 20 percent increase on the years before.

“Far from cutting budgets – as he alledges – the amount spent last year was the highest in decades. That spending review maintained the school rebuilding programme, delivering 500 schools over a decade – a pace completely consistent with what had happened previously.”

Rishi Sunak also pointed out that during the debates on the spending review in question, Labour “did not raise the issue of RAAC one single time”.

Mr Sunak slammed Sir Keir, telling him: “Before he jumps on the next political bandwagon, he should get his facts straight!”

Shortly before PMQs, the Government published the full list of the 147 schools affected by RAAC. 

Sir Keir was keen to emphasise Rishi Sunak’s personal involvement in the row, as well as the Tories’ decision to cut the Blair Government’s school rebuilding programme, bringing it up twice. 

Rishi Sunak said the rebuilding programme was reviewed by the National Audit Office at the start of the Coalition Government, and found it “actually excluded 80 percent of schools”. 

“What did they find? That it was a third more expensive than it needed to be, needlessly wasting resources that could have gone to schools.

“The worst bit is that that programme – because [Sir Keir’s] now talking about the physical conditions of schools – that programme only allocated funds solely on the basis of ideology with no regard whatsoever to the physical conditions of schools”. 

Mr Sunak joked that the review of the new schools programme found it “time-consuming and expensive – just like the Labour party!”


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