Westminster will cost “at least” £12bn to refurbish – enough money to keep the Welsh Parliament going for over 200 years – it was revealed today.
The Infrastructure and Projects Authority briefed Number 10 on the true cost of the programme last year.
The yearly budget for the entire Welsh Parliament, including staff, members, building maintenance and everything else, is a total of £58m.
That is less than 0.5% of the cost of refurbishing Westminster, meaning that the same sum could keep the institution going for the next 206 years.
Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee, told Building the cost could be “at least” £12bn.
“I could imagine it could be at least that,” she said. “People will say ‘well it’s terribly expensive, and it’s the taxpayer’s money and it’s outrageous’. Well yes, of course it’s expensive, it was never going to be cheap. There’s no way you can dodge the cost, what you can do is mitigate it.
“We’ve got to be honest with the British public – yes it’s going to be costly, you can’t do this on the cheap. Not doing it isn’t cheap, there’s no cost-free or cheap option now and the longer we leave it the more it will cost the taxpayer.
“The key thing is to get the go-ahead to make sure that we are understanding what the scale of the task is.”