Public accounts committee gives full backing to six-year long move-out of MPs and peers
MPs on the public accounts committee have urged Parliament to “get on with” the £4bn revamp of the Grade I-listed Palace of Westminster, warning any delay will only add to the cost and risks.
In a report weighing up the potential options for rennovating the World Heritage Site, the committee said the government should not delay in putting its preferred proposal to a vote in both Houses, adding: “The best value for money will be achieved by getting on with it”.
Last year a joint committee of MPs and peers representing both Houses recommended a full move-out of MPs and peers lasting six years to make way for £4bn of essential repair and rennovation works to the palace, one of three main options put forward by consultants Deloitte, Aecom and HOK.
This plan has now been endorsed by the public accounts committee (PAC), which said it was “the most economical, effective and efficient choice”.
The PAC said doing nothing over the crumbling state of the buildings was not an option as they were in an “extreme state of disrepair with the risk of a catastrophic failure high and growing”.
The recommendation by the joint committee for a two-tier delivery authority, similar to the ones used by Crossrail and on the delivery of the 2012 Olympics, for the scheme was also endorsed by the PAC. However, it added that the National Audit Office should be empowered to audit the delivery authority and carry out value for money studies.
The committee also concluded that a detailed business plan needed to be done before any final decision is made.
Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said: “The Palace of Westminster is in urgent need of repair and major work will be required to make it fit for use by Parliament and the public for generations to come.
“Delaying a decision on how that work should be carried out will only add to the costs and risks.
“In our view that decision should be to endorse a full decant. This is our best chance to keep costs down, ensure safety and complete the work on this historic building as quickly as possible.
“The longer the House of Commons spends mulling new or alternative options, the greater the chance that public money is wasted.”