Full plan for Parliament restoration due in 2023 amid reports of £14bn bill and 20-year delay
The body responsible for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster has said a full plan will be presented to Parliament in 2023, amid reports costs have spiralled to more than three times the original estimate.
It has been reported the repairs bill could climb to £14 billion, way above the figure of £4bn that had originally been floated.
The soaring costs come amid claims the work will take 20 years, with MPs and peers having to move out during the restoration.
It is understood the figure is based on preliminary work to assess the extent of the action that needs to be taken to save the 150-year-old palace, which was built after the original building burnt down in 1834.
A spokesperson for the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme said: “Any early information is based on preliminary analysis, which will be built on as we continue our vital planning work during 2022.
“Parliament will be asked to approve the restoration plan, including finalised costs and timescales, when it has been fully developed in 2023.
“We are developing a detailed restoration plan based on tens of thousands of hours of building investigations, that will give the most accurate costs and timescales for the complex and essential work needed to save the Palace of Westminster ever developed.”
Earlier this year, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted Parliament needs to “be able to justify to the taxpayer” the huge list of repairs.
It came after more than 50 engineers, architectural surveyors, acoustics and lighting specialists, and ecologists spent a combined 4,700 hours over Parliament’s recess periods investigating the building, and creating the most detailed record of the site ever created.
More detailed surveys are planned for the building throughout the winter and 2022, including “intrusive” investigations into its structure.
Sources close to the work said the £14bn bill and 20-year “decant” is the worst-case scenario and other options are on the table.
But they stressed the damage being done to the estate is happening faster than it can be fixed.
A price tag of around £4bn has previously been estimated, but Mr Rees-Mogg has said “we have suddenly heard talk of cost of £10bn to £20bn coming up”.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Palace of Westminster must be safeguarded for future generations as the home of the UK’s democracy, but when Parliament takes its final decision on how to proceed it must be clear – as the Government has been throughout – that it will provide value for money for the taxpayer.”
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