Posted: 07.01.22 at 12:02 by Rory Poulter
As Covid-19 infections rise among children returning to school, MP Munira Wilson has accused ministers of failing to protect youngsters and their education.
This week, she raised questions in the Commons over why just 8,000 air purifiers are being provided for the 300,000 classrooms in the country.
The Twickenham MP and Lib-Dem education spokesman also asked why the government is recommending expensive air purifiers from the company of Brexit-backing businessman, Sir James Dyson, rather than cheaper alternatives.
Speaking in the Commons, she said: “We’ve known since early on in the pandemic that air purifiers are one of the most effective and cheapest ways of reducing Covid transmission in the classroom as shown by countries such as the US and Germany who implemented them many months ago.”
Given this evidence, she asked why only 8,000 are being provided and what evidence the Government is relying on to limit the number being given to schools.
Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, said the government has decided it would be a waste of public money to buy more purifiers as they are not needed in most classrooms.
The minister said the government has supplied 350,000 CO2 monitors to schools to identify air quality issues in classrooms. He said as a result: “The majority of schools did not report any issues with the atmosphere in the classroom.
“That is the funnel that you go through otherwise you waste public money on buying 300,000 air purifiers for classrooms, you waste taxpayers money buying 300,000 air purifiers for classrooms that simply do not need them.”
On the reason for recommending Dyson, he said: “My civil servants also set up a marketplace for other schools who want to buy air purifiers and they have looked at what is available in the market and recommend more than just the Dyson brand on that marketplace.”
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