Parliament restoration work halted after asbestos discovery

Work on the restoration of Parliament has been halted after the discovery of previously unknown asbestos in the building.

According to the Huffington Post, renovation work has been stopped with contractors and staff potentially exposed to asbestos over a two-month period late last year. It is understood that work has now recommenced.

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “The House is currently working with our contractors, supply chain and the HSE following an isolated incident of possible asbestos exposure on the estate.”

The news that work stopped on the restoration comes only weeks after it was revealed that the body overseeing the multi-billion-pound restoration may be scrapped.

Cost estimates have risen to a potential of £14bn to £20bn, which is up to five times the original £4bn estimate. As recently as last year costs were anticipated to cost in the region of £12bn. Recent estimates may also see MPs and peers move from the crumbling palace for up to two decades as restoration works are undertaken.

Last November, a market consultation was launched on plans to temporarily move the House of Lords to the nearby Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Conference Centre.

In March last year, it was reported that the cost to maintain Parliament had doubled to £127m per year.

On 8 February, a House of Lords commission agreed to plans to scrap the sponsor body for the restoration. However, it clarified that this should not happen “until further consideration had taken place and agreement had been reached on what should replace it”.

The Lords commission also instructed the delivery authority in charge of the Parliament restoration to focus on “intrusive surveys and other necessary work to enable progress in the meantime and to inform future decisions on the next steps”.

The House of Commons has been contacted for comment.

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