September 23, 2023
Safety of children in NI just as important as those in rest of UK, says Mathison, amid Raac funding uncertainty
Alliance Education spokesperson Nick Mathison MLA has said the safety of children in Northern Ireland is of just as paramount importance as the safety of children elsewhere in the UK. It comes following reports that suggest it’s unclear if NI will receive extra funding from the UK Government to fix public buildings, including schools, affected by crumbling concrete (Raac).
Education Nick Mathison
In England, the government have committed to spending “whatever it takes to keep children safe”. The Department of Finance have however since announced that it has not been confirmed whether any additional funding will be provided for Northern Ireland to fix any potential issues.
In Northern Ireland, 120 schools are currently being surveyed for the affected concrete.
The Strangford MLA has said: “The safety of every pupil, teacher, and staff member attending school every day is of paramount importance, regardless of where in the UK they’re located.
“With that in mind, it’s incredibly concerning that schools in England appear to have been given a blank cheque to fix any potential structural risks posed by crumbling Raac concrete, and yet questions remain over whether Northern Ireland will receive any additional funding at all for it.
“With the unlikelihood of us receiving any funding through Barnett consequentials due to the financial pressures NI is already under, we must seek clarity on how exactly any essential repairs that may be needed here will be financed. I will be writing to the Permanent Secretary and the NIO as a matter of urgency.
“However, with neither a finance nor education minister in place here to allocate any available funding due to the DUP’s ongoing boycott of Stormont, we find ourselves in even yet more uncertainty. It’s long since time they put the people of NI over their own party political interests and got back to work, not least now when the safety of our children is in question.”
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