A clip blasting Rishi Sunak’s response to the school concrete crisis has gone viral as fears around building safety escalate.
The video, published on social media platform ‘X, by the campaign group Led By Donkeys, contrasts the dangers facing education facilities across the UK with the fees of the prime minister and wife Akshata Murty’s former schools.
It follows a difficult week for Sunak who faces criticism for the closure of more than 100 schools following the detection of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
The material, which has an approximate lifespan of 30 years, is described as resembling Aero chocolate due to it’s bubbly texture and was identified as a safety risk in 2018 following the collapse of a school roof in Kent in 2018.
The exact number of schools impacted by the dangerous material is still unknown, with unions warning potentially hundreds more could be at risk of crumbling concrete.
The clip begins with dire warnings from Jonathan Slater, the former head civil servant at the Department for Education, who this week accused Sunak of failing to fully fund a programme to rebuild England’s crumbling schools while he was chancellor.
Jonathan Slater, who served as permanent secretary at the department from May 2016 to August 2020, said he was “absolutely amazed” the decision was made by the Treasury to slash the government budget for school repairs by half in 2021.
In the video, he can be heard reciting a warning he issued to the Treasury of the “critical risk to life” if the programme was not refunded.
In an interview on BBC Radio 4, the former senior civil servant said that up to 400 schools a year required replacement but that funding was given for just 100.
The revelations resulted in the admission of schools minister Nick Gibb that Rishi Sunak rejected funding for the construction of 200 schools in favour of other priorities.
The DfE admitted just four schools have been rebuilt so far under plans overhaul 500 sites by 2030 that the prime minister used to defend claims he had cut funding for new schools.
The video continues with an overview of both Winchester College and Claremont McKenna College in California, the schools attended by Mr and Mrs Sunak.
According to the clip, yearly fees at Winchester College, one of the UK’s most prestigious colleges, are currently £46,000, while Claremont McKenna College commands a sizeable sum of $86,000 per year.
The narrator, making reference to the donations received by each education facility from the Sunaks, adds: “Last year, Sunak dipped into his family fortune, worth about a billion pounds and donated £100,000 to this school.
“In 2018, the Sunak’s donated $3 million to this American college so it could build a high-tech quantative and computing laboratory.”
The clip then transitions to a seemingly run-down Buckhurst Hill Community Primary School in Essex with an image depicting the presence of aerated concrete which ultimately forced its pupils to remain at home over safety concerns.
With more than 1.2 million views, the video contrasts the slick, modern facade of Claremont McKenna College with the collapsed roof of one of hundreds of schools believed to be impacted by the use of RAAC.
You can watch the full video below.