'Tinderbox' warning for Commons

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Indy Politics
MPs WERE alarmed last night after a report that it could cost pounds 9m to prevent their Victorian building from acting like a tinderbox, writes Colin Brown.

House of Commons officials are planning to spend an estimated pounds 500,000 to improve fire-safety procedures, including emergency lighting for fire escapes.

But members of the cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee were disturbed to hear that the work was yet to be completed, although it was recommended in a report 14 years ago which warned the Commons was a 'fire trap' and a 'tinderbox'. The committee heard that it could cost pounds 1.3m a year until the end of the century to tackle the fire hazards.

The consultants' fire-safety report on the Commons is being studied by another committee of MPs responsible for the House.

The Public Accounts Committee was also urged by the Chief Fire Officers' Association to review the immunity of Crown buildings from fire safety laws.