To ask the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, further to the remarks by the Leader of the House of Commons on 11 March (HC Deb, col 1006), what discussions they have had with him about reports of the costs of the refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster; and whether they have any plans to review (1) the feasibility, or (2) the affordability, of the refurbishment.
6 April 2021
The Sponsor Body has regular engagement with the House of Commons Commission (which includes the Leader of the House as a member) on a range of issues relating to the Restoration and Renewal Programme, including on costs.
The Sponsor Body has a statutory duty, under the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019, to have regard to the need to ensure that the Parliamentary building works represent good value for money. Value for money is at the heart of everything we do and we have robust assurance processess in place to ensure costs are minimised.
The Sponsor Body does not recognise the reported figures of £10 to £20 billion costs for the Parliamentary building works. Supported by the Delivery Authority, the Sponsor Body is in the process of developing a detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan that will for the first time give an accurate sense of the costs, timescales and full detail of the work needed. It is the work of the detailed and costed restoration plan which will determine the forecast cost for R&R. The detailed restoration plan will be focused on delivering value for money and will be informed by more than 100 surveys and investigations of the Palace of Westminster. The detailed and costed plan will be put before both Houses for a decision before the Parliamentary building works can commence.
The Sponsor Body has recently undertaken and published a Strategic Review of the R&R Programme. The purpose of the review was to consider whether anything had changed so significantly as to warrant a change in the strategy for the Programme. The Sponsor Body invited views from Members, Members' staff, parliamentary staff and members of the public. We also consulted with the Commissions of both Houses, as well as relevant parliamentary committees, on the draft Strategic Review recommendations. The review recommends new approaches to completing the restoration while minimising costs and ensuring value for money, and provides a clear direction for the next stages of the work. The Review is available at: https://restorationandrenewal.uk/resources/reports/strategic-review