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Sat, 15 June 2024

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By Baroness Smith of Llanfaes
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Parliament's Restoration & Renewal Programme Facing Contractor Reluctance

Restoration and renewal works (Credit: Vuk Valcic / Alamy Stock Photo)

2 min read

Parliament’s Restoration and Renewal (R&R) programme is struggling to attract companies to tender for work on the estate as the House prevaricates about essential works, MPs have said.

Conservative MP for the Cotswolds Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who sits on the R&R Programme Board, said that attracting companies to work on the estate has “always been an issue”, and “rightly there’s a feeling that the House can’t make up its mind”.

With Parliament now expected to confirm which options to choose from later this year – either a full decant or maintaining a continued presence while works are underway – another MP said that “the longer we go on, the more confidence will drain away”.

They added that “constant changes” to the scope of the work mean that contractors “aren’t keen” to tender for it and that companies are mindful of potential damage to their reputation. This could arise from spiralling costs as well as the public seeing the project as a significant waste of public money.

“There is reputational damage involved, where a company is thinking: why would I want my name associated with this?” they said, adding contractors would build in contingency on costings when tendering for work to account for any reputational damage incurred by working on the programme.

The Delivery Authority, that body that overseas the implementation of the R&R programme, insisted there was no reluctance. In a statement it said: “There is significant appetite from suppliers from across the UK to work on this unique project and we continue to receive high levels of interest in all procurement exercises."

“More than one hundred companies registered to attend the launch of our first major preliminary market consultation in October 2023, which marked the beginning of a two-way engagement between the Delivery Authority and the market to inform our approach to future procurement exercises. We are currently in contract with 120 companies who are working with us as we gain an understanding of the current condition of the Palace of Westminster."

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