PAC backs full decant of Westminster during refurb

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has supported a full decant of the Palace of Westminster while major works are undertaken as ‘the most economical, effective and efficient choice’.

The PAC report agreed that the World Heritage Site is in an extreme state of disrepair with a growing risk of a catastrophe and confirmed ‘the best value for money will be achieved by getting on with it.’

In the report, the Committee recommends the House of Commons ‘swiftly proceeds to a decision-in-principle and that the decision is to pursue a full decant from the Palace whilst it is restored, renewed and made ready for at least another 150 years as the home of Parliament’.

"We would stress to the project team that a strong communications plan is vital as the programme progresses, to actively communicate the benefits of the project to all stakeholders, including MPs, Peers, staff and the wider public.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, explained: "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.

“Clearly there are many details to be agreed and difficult choices will need to be made as restoration and renewal progresses. Effective oversight and clear communication will be essential to its success.

“This will not be Parliament's last chance to scrutinise this complex and challenging project and the Public Accounts Committee will be watching costs closely to ensure taxpayers get the best deal."

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