At its meeting on Monday 29 October 2012, the House of Commons Commission considered an internal Study Group report on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster
The Commission was united in taking very seriously its responsibilities for this iconic and much-loved Grade 1 listed building in a UNESCO world heritage site. It also expressed strong support for continuing to protect the health and safety of visitors, members and staff.
It is therefore of the unanimous view that doing nothing is not an option. Equally, the Commission is acutely conscious of the current public spending environment and is committed to ensuring that any consideration of how the Palace could be restored is based upon securing maximum value for taxpayers’ money.
The report is a useful first analysis of the issues. However, the Commission has ruled out the option of constructing a brand new building away from Westminster and no further analysis will be undertaken on this option.
In addition the Commission was not persuaded that the case for a decant had been made and wished to ensure that all options were rigorously tested by independent analysis, detailed costings and robust technical information, to ensure no suggestion of internal bias.
Fulfilling their obligations as custodians of the Palace of Westminster requires informed, considered decision-making by both Houses of Parliament. A great deal of work remains to be done before Parliament is in a position even to consider the merits and demerits in principle of particular options.
In the interests of transparency, the Study Group’s report has been published on Parliament’s website.