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British parliament needs billions in restoration

18 June 2015 22:38



Fundamental restoration of parliament could cost up to £5.7 billion and take more than 30 years to complete.

An independent report has outlined the drastic costs required to fix parliament but also points out that the costs would decrease to £3.5 billion if MPs were to vacate the building for six years. The 150-year-old grand building in the heart of London is reportedly sinking and contains asbestos.

House of Commons

There have been many MPs and campaigners that favor moving parliament to the north of England, creating a parliament fit for purpose in the center of Britain.

Labour MPs, Frank Field and Graham Stinger, are among those calling for the relocation of parliament. Stinger believes that parliament should be permanently moved to reduce centralization.

The restoration program director, Richard Ware, believes that action is urgently needed to save the building. He said it “is clear from this report that Parliament is faced with some difficult choices. The Palace of Westminster is a building of huge national and international importance and we face a massive challenge in securing its future…parliament will now consider the recommendations of the Independent Options Appraisal and will do everything possible to secure value for money and ensure transparency throughout the process.”

House of Lords

But there are also those that are dead against moving parliament from London, believing it to be illogical and counterproductive. Tory MP Alan Duncan has said that the idea of moving the British parliament to the north of England is a “ridiculous and impractical idea.”

But a statement from both houses of parliament outlined the major challenges that the restoration project will face. It said “the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster will be a major challenge facing Parliament in the coming years and is certain to be a matter of public interest…the process to establish a Joint Committee, which will make recommendations to both Houses on how to proceed, is already under way.”

The Queen’s Robing Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster.

The government is set to face a number of questions over the idea of moving parliament to the north of England. If they decide against temporarily moving MPs for six years during restoration, which will significantly raise the costs of repair, then they may face a backlash from the public.

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