A Labour county councillor and Ipswich's former MP has hit out at the government over the closure of school buildings due to collapse-risk concrete.

Sandy Martin, who was MP between 2017 and 2019, said the issues relating the partial closures of schools in Suffolk stem back several years.

Around the county, schools have announced temporary closures at the start of the new academic year due to reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) being present.

These schools so far include Hadleigh High School, Farlingaye High School, Claydon High School and East Bergholt High School.

East Anglian Daily Times: Labour's Sandy MartinLabour's Sandy Martin

More recently, Thurston Community College was featured on the government's list of schools with RAAC, but this has been fixed and is no longer an issue at the school.

Stowupland High School later announced that Year 9 and 10 students will study remotely after the discovery of RAAC in a number of classrooms.

Department for Education officials had asked about spare places in Ipswich schools just a week ago, and only when they were questioned about why they needed the information did they admit it was because of problems with RAAC, Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin, Labour county councillor and deputy leader of his party's group on Suffolk County Council, said: "The government has made the wrong call on RAAC, and on school maintenance in general, all the way down the line.

"Despite being told of the problem, and shown the evidence, they have refused to address the issue.

"Government ministers are always keen to blame local government, but in this case they have clearly witheld the powers that local councils need, cut the resources our schools need, and even failed to give authorities the information they need.

"The whole RAAC scandal is entirely down to deliberate penny-pinching decisions taken over the last four years, which will now cost us all far more, and it is our children's education that will suffer."

East Anglian Daily Times: Education Secretary Gillian KeeganEducation Secretary Gillian Keegan (Image: PA)

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said of the issue: "I know this is the last way parents, teachers and children affected by this wanted to begin the new term, but it will always be my priority to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.

"We will continue to support all impacted settings in whatever way we can, whether that's through our team of dedicated caseworkers or through capital funding to put mitigations in place."