As MPs and Lords prepare for a decision on Parliament’s major programme of restoration and renewal, a Bristol MP is urging the government to ensure the city gets its share of job and apprenticeship opportunities that will be created by the project, the costs of which are expected to run to billions of pounds.
A committee of MPs and Peers has been considering how to implement a project that will see the restoration of the Victorian Palace of Westminster, whose buildings have been deteriorating for decades. Options are being considered which could see MPs leaving their traditional home for a number of years whilst work is undertaken.
A Bristol architect firm recently sketched a headline-grabbing plan to establish a temporary home near to Temple Meads, but Karin Smyth says there is huge potential for Bristol to benefit from far more than eye-catching schemes.
“This major engineering and architectural project can deliver tangible, realistic and durable benefits for local people that can ensure Bristol, a great engineering city, gets it share of the jobs and apprenticeships that will inevitably arise from this major project.” she says.
“From Brunel through to Concorde to the Bloodhound, Bristol’s industrial and engineering heritage is a great source of pride.
“Many people will baulk at the costs this major engineering programme, so it is vital that the very special heritage and talents of Bristol are properly recognised and that the city gets its share of the taxpayer investment that is bound to be needed to ensure the historic Houses of Parliament are restored and renewed.”
Having toured the basement of Parliament to see for herself the scale of the work involved the Labour MP has written to Skills Minister Nick Boles MP and Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP, who leads on the project, asking that he and government colleagues do all in their power to ensure a fair distribution of job and apprenticeship opportunities for a project which is bound to need a variety of preparatory work, much of which can be carried out away from London.
“The economic benefits of this programme cannot be felt by London alone, and I will bat for Bristol to have the greatest possible involvement and stake in its success,” Karin Smyth added.
Decisions about the way the restoration project will be scheduled and managed are due to be made by both Houses of Parliament in the next few weeks. It will require specialist work to address the various elements of the restoration – including heating systems, pipework, cabling, roofing, stonework, window restoration, fire safety systems and removal of asbestos.
For more information about the restoration project use this link