Lindsay Hoyle announces stricter covid rules for Parliament

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The initial projections had suggested the cost would be around the £4billion mark. However, The Sunday Times claimed the cost of the repairs could climb to £14billion – meaning, given Britain’s population of 67.2 million, it would cost every man, woman and child more than £208.

It is understood the figure is based on preliminary work to assess the extent of the action that needs to be taken to save the 150-year-old palace, which was built after the original building burnt down in 1834.

A spokesman for the Programme said: “Any early information is based on preliminary analysis which will be built on as we continue our vital planning work during 2022.

“Parliament will be asked to approve the restoration plan, including finalised costs and timescales, when it has been fully developed in 2023.”

The spokesman added: “We are developing a detailed restoration plan based on tens of thousands of hours of building investigations, that will give the most accurate costs and timescales for the complex and essential work needed to save the Palace of Westminster ever developed.”

Earlier this year, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted Parliament needs to “be able to justify to the taxpayer” the huge list of repairs.

It came after more than 50 engineers, architectural surveyors, acoustics and lighting specialists, and ecologists spent a combined 4,700 hours over Parliament’s recess periods investigating the building, and creating the most detailed record of the site ever created.

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More detailed surveys are planned for the building throughout the winter and 2022, including “intrusive” investigations into its structure.

Sources close to the work said the £14billion bill and 20-year “decant” is the worst-case scenario and other options are on the table.

However, they stressed the damage being done to the estate is happening faster than it can be fixed.

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Referring to the previously mentioned price tag of around £4billion, but Mr Rees-Mogg said: “We have suddenly heard talk of cost of £10billion to £20billion coming up”.

A statement issued on the Programme’s website last month said: “Hundreds of new heritage craftspeople and conservation specialists will be needed to fill roles in traditional crafts ahead of the essential work to restore the Houses of Parliament buildings.

“Heritage plasters and carpenters, stonemasons, and historic window restorers are just some of the jobs that will be in high demand throughout the Parliament restoration programme, and a national assessment of thousands of suppliers and training providers has found that more specialists will be needed in some areas.”

The statement added: “Falling demand over decades has led to a smaller heritage and conservation industry that will need to be boosted ahead of the UK’s largest ever restoration programme to save the Palace of Westminster.

“In some areas such as heritage plastering, research suggests that more than a third of the specialists currently working in the UK will be needed in the complex programme of essential work to restore Parliament.

“The restoration programme could also need as many as 34 percent of all heritage window specialists in the UK.

“The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme (R&R) will work with heritage and conservation organisations to encourage people into these specialist professions and contribute to the restoration.”

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