COMMONS

Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster inquiry launched

16 January 2017

The Treasury Committee examines the Restoration and Renewal Programme.

Background

The Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster is likely to be one of the largest major restorations in the history of the public sector estate. The consultants have estimated that the cost, if carried out over the minimum period of 5-8 years, will be between £3.5 and £4 billion. A Joint Committee of both House of Parliament reported on the options presented by the consultants.

Call for written submissions

The Committee invites written evidence and views on the options as set out in the consultants' report and the Joint Committee's report, and other options that witnesses may wish to put forward. The Committee would like views on:

  1. What are the comparative costs of the various options described by the consultants? What is the effect on the costs of restating this on a constant price basis and discounted at an appropriate discount rate? Would the Treasury’s Green Book discount rate be the appropriate rate? Is the scope of the work proposed entirely necessary or could it be scaled back?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of full decant, whereby both Houses vacate Parliament for the duration of the work, or partial decant, whereby one House vacates at a time?
  3. How reasonable are the cost estimates for the capital works as described in the consultant’s report? How reasonable are the estimates for operating costs for the refurbished Palace of Westminster when the works are completed?
  4. Would it be possible to carry out full restoration over shorter periods than 11 and 32 years respectively with a partial decant or with no decant? What, if any, options might be considered over periods of greater than 11 or less than 32 years?
  5. How urgent is it to complete work on the restoration? Is it as soon as feasibly possible? Could the start of work be delayed beyond 2020 or would this involve unacceptable risks for health and safety and for the satisfactory working of Parliament? Would a later start result in much higher costs later?
  6. How important is the independent management of large-scale Government projects? How, and by whom, should he project be managed?
  7. How comprehensive does the restoration need to be? Are the options put forward by the consultants unnecessarily ambitious? Is there a less costly option than the “no enhancement” option described the consultants?

Chair's comments

Commenting on the inquiry launch, Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said:

"The Restoration and Renewal Programme is estimated to cost between £3.5 and £4 billion over 5-8 years. Neither the report by Deloitte nor that by the Joint Commission provides enough of the evidence needed to come even to a preliminary decision on these proposals.

So the Treasury Committee will attempt to collect some of it. This is why the Committee has called for evidence on this massive, and hugely expensive, restoration project.

The proposals certainly need thorough scrutiny."

Further information

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