I am pleased that the draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill has now been published, which seeks to establish the statutory bodies that will be responsible for the restoration and renewal works within the parliamentary estate, giving effect to the resolutions passed by Parliament earlier this year.
The draft bill will establish the governance structure within which those bodies will operate. The bodies will have the capacity and capability to make strategic decisions on the Restoration and Renewal Programme, so that the Palace of Westminster can be secured as the UK Parliament for future generations. The draft Bill proposes establishing three independent statutory bodies that would provide the governance throughout the full R&R Programme. These are:
the Sponsor Body – to oversee the programme
the Delivery Authority – to undertake the required works
the Estimates Commission – to review budgets and expenditure.
As I have previously set out, the Palace of Westminster is a UNESCO world heritage site, the seat of our democracy, and home to some of our most important moments in history. It is one of the most famous buildings in the world, and it is a beacon for democracy. It has, however, needed significant repair since around 1945, yet successive Parliaments have failed to agree on what is to be done.
Earlier this month the Joint Committee on the draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill, chaired by my colleague the Rt Hon. Dame Caroline Spelman MP, published its call for evidence inviting views on whether the governance structures for the Restoration and Renewal Programme set out in the draft Bill are appropriate. The deadline for written submissions is the 18th January 2019, and you can find out more information on the Committee’s website.
I look forward to the Committee’s conclusions so that we can get on with the work that needs doing, and I thank them for their considered attention to this important matter.