Scottish Tory hypocrisy over asbestos

In another of their freedom of information media feeds, the Scottish Cons reveal again their deep cynicism. From STV today:

More than 1,700 schools in Scotland contain asbestos, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Some 1,745 primary, secondary and special schools across the country currently hold the toxic substance.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was used in a variety of buildings for its anti-corrosion and heat-resistant qualities.

But the material was banned in the UK in 1999 after it was found to be carcinogenic, meaning it can cause cancer.

The Scottish Conservatives, who released the figures in response to an FOI request, called the findings “shocking”.

The party’s education spokesman Stephen Kerr said parents across the country will be seeking urgent reassurance from the new education secretary Jenny Gilruth.

How dangerous is this?

Asbestos that is in good condition and unlikely to be damaged or disturbed is not a significant risk to health as long as it is properly managed. This means that teachers and pupils are unlikely to be at risk in the course of their normal activities. However, they should not undertake activities that damage ACMs, such as pinning or tacking work to insulation board or ceiling tiles.,as%20it%20is%20properly%20managed

If asbestos is to be removed, damaged or disturbed, does the SNP plan to keep the pupils in the school while that happens. Anyone think that?

Are the Tories real champions on this issue?

The Government survived revolts by a small number of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who protested over weaknesses in the Mesothelioma Bill.

The legislation is designed to compensate victims of mesothelioma who have been unable to trace the employer who exposed them to the deadly asbestos dust.

Ministers have vowed to “end an injustice that has left many tragic victims and their families high and dry”, with a £350m package to help 3,000 people.

But Labour has accused ministers of caving in to insurance firms – many of which have made huge donations to the Conservative Party.

11 thoughts on “Scottish Tory hypocrisy over asbestos

  1. Asbestos in its natural state is friable and, when used in buildings, it is mixed with a binding and protective material and is completely safe unless damaged or disturbed.

    Had Stephen Kerr been a grown-up he would already know this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is correct. The problem in many buildings, public and private, and not just schools was that no or few records of where asbestos based products had been used were available. So, people sometimes cut into these materials in the course of alterations, repairs, decoration, and, unknowingly were releasing fibres into the air.

      When the dangers associated with asbestos became clear – and there was awareness of this by businesses and authorities for many years, but they continually denied it or pooh-poohed claims, dismissing them as trivial – moves were made to map asbestos is buildings and, in many cases, this entailed removal. Asbestos records have to maintained in buildings so that tradespeople undertaking works, such as electricians, can ascertain where the asbestos products are located. Sadly, a number of the companies engaged to do the surveys were ‘cowboys’ and presented reams of official looking maps for buildings, which were, frankly, baloney. However, that is capitalism, the profit motive and the primary function of ‘maximising shareholder return’.

      Asbestos regulations and others have long been sneered at by the Tories and their media chums as ‘red tape’ and ‘bureaucracy’, that has to be ‘slashed’. Hypocrisy indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also saw this article and it struck me there was no mention of when these schools were built maybe under the Tory /Lab PFI schemes would be good to know.
    Anyone up for a search to find out??


    1. Given the number of schools identified, all were built when there were Conservative or Labour governments in Westminster, with much of the Labour 1997/2010 rebuilding of the ‘school’ estate’ undertaken via PFI. Many of the companies involved in construction were donors to the Tories and some to Labour.


  3. The Tories cut Education funding £6Billion a year. From 2015 to 2020. £9000 loans in the South. The loan book is now £Billions and sold off. The Scottish Gov had to mitigate the cuts. Support the students etc, The countdown has begun,

    Everyone who supports Independence needs to get out and vote every election. A higher turnout. To vote the unionists out.


  4. The only recorded release of a toxic substance in Scottish school history was 1977 in Forfar, when Stephen Kerr left to become a “bank junior”.


  5. This means that all schools built by the present administration from 2007 are free of asbestos. Schools built under Labour and Conservative administrations in the past century at Westminster are not.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are women in Clydebank who are trying for compensation over having asbestosis.
    They never worked in the local plant but their family had, how did they contact the asbestos, they washed the work clothes.
    My brother died from asbestosis, in Australia, he worked as an installer of telephone exchanges.
    When he was diagnosed he was compensated within months as the cause was obvious, biopsy is 100%, no need to sue his employer the state sorts out the finance later.
    He had to take a bottle of oxygen when he went out and a fixed machine was installed in his home.

    In the uk you can wait years for compensation, their method is to let you die out and , in england, your claim dies with you.

    Asbestos comes in 3 forms , I’m told, brown, white and blue, I remember the insulation boys working with ‘Monkey Dung’ , white asbestos made into a paste, and plastered onto steam pipework, then covered with chicken wire and tarred felt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I watched a film couple of yrs back which was a pretty graphic account of the fight for legislation and compensation over asbestosis. The Aboriginal people used to extract the material suffered terribly as well as the guys using and manufacturing. Businesses and corporations fought tooth and nail at both state and Federal level to prevent legislative changes.


  7. As a retired Site Manager in various small to large primary schools in Hertfordshire I can assure you that asbestos is taken incredibly seriously. All schools are surveyed and even if it is suspected that asbestos is present in any part of the school it is recorded in the Asbestos Register that every school has. The location being carefully noted on detailed school plans, the area also being labelled.
    Any works carried out in the schools has to be subject to this register and work has to be signed of as “safe” by two members of staff. This is normally the Head Teacher and the Site Manager both of whom will have attended “Asbestos Awarness” courses and which have to renewed every three years.
    If it is even suspected that asbestos may be present an asbestos contractor certified by the Local Council has to carry out a survey. This is normally done at times when the school is closed and performed under the strictest safety guidelines. Any suggestion that the presence of asbestos has come as a shock and is somehow not being monitored or ignored is simply laughably

    Liked by 2 people

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