The annual cost of repairing the creaking Palace of Westminster has reached a new high amid warnings that MPs could have to leave the historic building to let a full-scale renovation take place.
Parliamentary authorities revealed that the costs of repairing the ageing mock-gothic palace in 2014/15 totalled £48.7m, up over £6m on last year.
Last year’s figure was up on the year before, as was the previous year’s and the year before that.
Parliamentary authorities, led by the Speaker John Bercow, warned in May that the current approach to patching up the working Victorian palace would unsustainable.
Courses of action proposed by the Speaker include a temporary relocation from the Palace in order to allow its complete renovation to modern standards – at a probable cost of about £3bn.
Other ideas floating around Westminster include abandoning the palace as a seat of Parliament altogether and finding another building – either in London or elsewhere.
Parliamentary authorities are expected to lay out further proposals future of the building along with recommendations about where Parliament could decant to later this week.
Previous suggestions have included Westminster Central Hall, a large Methodist church on Parliament Square which would have the added benefit of still being located close to other Parliamentary institutions like television studios and think-tanks.
The latest figure is provisional has not yet been independently audited, the House of Commons Commission warmed.
The current Palace of Westminster was commissioned in 1836 and the foundation stone laid in 1840, with most of the construction finished by around 1860.
Problems with the current palace include rodent infestations, crumbling stonework, and leaking roofs.Reuse content