Downing Street to get urgent overhaul

Urgent repair work is required to Downing Street because parts of the 17th century building, renovated by William Kent in the 1730s, are rapidly deteriorating, MPs have been told.

No 10 was last refurbished in the early 1960s, but decades of doubling as the heart of government and the Prime Minister's residence have taken a further toll on the structure.

In a written answer to MPs, Tom Watson, a junior cabinet minister, said: "Much of the infrastructure now needs to be renewed and upgraded. It has therefore been recommended that essential improvements are undertaken through ongoing annual maintenance works."

All premiers since Benjamin Disraeli in 1877 have based themselves at No 10, which today is linked to No 11, the home of the Chancellor, a larger 17th century house behind it that overlooks Horse Guards, and the Cabinet Office on Whitehall. When Disraeli moved in, he met the cost of renovating the private apartments himself.

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