Comment: For Keane’s sake, let’s start work today

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The parents, pupils and staff at Liberton High School are grieving over the death of Keane Wallis-Bennett.

But they are also angry.

How can a beautiful 12-year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her die in her own school after a wall collapses? In a place where parents should reasonably expect all pupils to be safe.

Accidents do happen. But perhaps the signs of trouble in this case have been evident for quite some time.

The Evening News has carried numerous stories on the growing backlog of maintenance to our school buildings. The most worrying part is the number of schools requiring essential upgrades.

Leaky roofs and worn fabrics are one thing. But when defects go unrepaired over a long period they pose a risk to life and limb.

Edinburgh City Council has previously pledged to spend £30 million over five years tackling school maintenance (the overall backlog is calculated at £80 million).

But a five-year plan is no longer sufficient. This work needs to be done now.

The council doesn’t have the money and this is where the Scottish Government needs to step in.

No administration at Holyrood, whatever its colour, can stand back and do nothing after such a tragedy.

More cash needs to be made available to all local authorities to tackle this issue.

The SNP argue that many facets of life would improve under independence.

Well, here’s something we can improve upon immediately that doesn’t require new powers or a Yes vote.

Voters will not forgive a council or a government that cannot deliver on a key part of their responsibilities to the public.

No other family should have to go through this pain.

For the sake of Keane Wallis-Bennett and her family, let’s begin addressing this backlog of work today.