Parliament repairs could force MPs out of the building for 20 years

A refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament could force MPs out of the Palace of Westminster for two decades.

Under the restoration plan the cost of repairs to the Commons and the Lords could reach £14 billion, exceeding the original estimate threefold. Originally MPs were told the work would take only six years and cost about £4 billion.

A government source told The Telegraph that the £14 billion price tag was “one estimate that has been discussed”.

They said: “MPs will have to vote on these plans and they will have to be able to justify such a project to their constituents. MPs from across the House will be incredibly concerned by these suggested costs and timescales.”

The Restoration & Renewal Sponsor Body, which is made up of MPs, peers, historians and infrastructure experts, carried out the first detailed survey and concluded that doing the work with MPs in the building would mean it would take more than 30 years. Instead, one of the options that will be presented will include the plan that sees them move out of the Palace for 20 years.

Sources have said this is a worst-case scenario and that there is another plan which would limit the time MPs and peers would have to leave the building to between 12 and 15 years.

Maintenance and continuing projects cost £127 million in one year alone

In 2018 MPs backed a "full decant" proposal, where they would move into Richmond House in Whitehall for about six years.

The cost of managing the deterioration of the building is rising. Recent maintenance and continuing projects cost £127 million in one year alone.

Earlier this year the former speaker of the House of Lords,  Lords Speaker Lord Fowler, wrote ­letters to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle in which he warned that the cost of restoring Parliament would balloon if MPs did not agree to relocate while the work took place.

Officials also warned that a shortage of stonemasons, plasterers and historic window experts threatened the restoration works.

Staff on the restoration and renewal programme conducted a survey of contractors and experts in the heritage sector to assess whether the UK has enough skilled craftsmen for the multi-billion-pound project.

They found that skills such as furniture, textile and painting restoration, stained glass conservation and clockmaking were dwindling in Britain, with officials struggling to find workers to attend to the contents of the Victorian building.

The research also suggested that more than a third of the heritage plastering and window specialists in the UK would be needed for the refurbishment, but many crafts in the heritage sector have become "extinct" or "critically endangered" because too few young people wish to work on old buildings.

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