Bill to re­pair Big Ben has now hit £61m

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Macer Hall

RE­PAIR costs for El­iz­a­beth Tower in the Palace of West­min­ster have now dou­bled to an es­ti­mated £61mil­lion, par­lia­men­tary au­thor­i­ties have said.

The conservation pro­ject for the clock tower, which houses the fa­mous bell known as Big Ben, was orig­i­nally priced at £29mil­lion in the spring of 2016.

The re­pair ef­fort caused con­tro­versy when it was an­nounced that Big Ben would only chime on spe­cial oc­ca­sions over the next four years while the works were be­ing car­ried out.

The House of Com­mons and House of Lords Com­mis­sions have been told that the in­crease in costs is due to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the com­plex­ity of the work needed to re­store the tower.

A House of Com­mons spokes­woman said: “The com­mis­sions ex­pressed their dis­ap­point­ment in the cost in­creases, and the un­re­li­a­bil­ity of the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate.

“They in­structed of­fi­cials to pro­vide reg­u­lar up­dates on progress and costs to the rel­e­vant do­mes­tic com­mit­tees so they can keep the com­mis­sions fully in­formed of the pro­ject.

“They also re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to pre­serve the El­iz­a­beth Tower and Great Clock for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

In a joint statement, the clerk of the House of Com­mons, the clerk of the Par­lia­ments and the di­rec­tor gen­eral of the House of Com­mons said: “The ini­tial es­ti­mates were set at a lower level to avoid cost es­ca­la­tion from the mar­ket.

“Sub­se­quent es­ti­mates us­ing bet­ter data, bet­ter re­flect the true like­li­hood of the costs.”

The El­iz­a­beth Tower

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