Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:53 pm on 31st January 2018.

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Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House–

(1) affirms its commitment to the historic Palace of Westminster and its unique status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Royal Palace and home of our Houses of Parliament;

(2) takes note of the report of the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster ‘Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster’, HL Paper 41, HC 659;

(3) accepts that there is a clear and pressing need to repair the services in the Palace of Westminster in a comprehensive and strategic manner to prevent catastrophic failure in this Parliament, whilst acknowledging the demand and burden on public expenditure and fiscal constraints at a time of prudence and restraint;

(4) accordingly endorses the unanimous conclusion of the Joint Committee that a full and timely decant of the Palace is the best and the most cost-effective delivery option, as endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority;

(5) accepts that expenditure on the Palace during this Parliament will be limited to preparatory work for the comprehensive programme of works envisaged, together with works essential to ensure the continuing functioning of the Palace;

(6) endorses the Joint Committee’s recommendation that a Sponsor Board and Delivery Authority be established by legislation to develop a business case and costed programme for the work to be approved by both Houses of Parliament, and to commission and oversee the work required, and that immediate steps be taken now to establish a shadow sponsor Board and Delivery Authority;

(7) instructs the shadow Sponsor Board and Delivery Authority and their statutory successors to apply high standards of cost-effectiveness and demonstrate value for money in the business case, to report back to Parliament with up to date costings and a realistic timetable for the duration of the work, and to include measures to ensure: the repair and replacement of mechanical and electrical services, fire safety improvement works, the removal of asbestos, repairs to the external and internal fabric of the Palace, the removal of unnecessary and unsightly accretions to the Palace, the improvement of visitor access including the provision of new educational and other facilities for visitors and full access for people with disabilities;

(8) affirms that the guarantee that both Houses will return to their historic Chambers as soon as possible should be incorporated in primary legislation.