Home » Culture » Westminster Shabby- Multi-billion pound bill to repair houses of parliament
Westminster Shabby- Multi-billion pound bill to repair houses of parliament
by Startacus Admin
It seems London Bridge isn’t the only thing that’s falling down. If recent reports from the BBC and others say true, the Palace of Westminster is nothing short of a death trap, with crumbling walls, sinking foundations, major fire risks, and roofs in danger of collapse. At least now we know why the House of Commons is so often ¾ empty ;-)
Apparently, so dire is the HP situation, it is suggested that the total cost of repairs could be somewhere in the region of £3-£7bn (with the upper estimate including an internal high speed rail network between offices).
But where will the money come from to pay for these repairs?
Why, it will come from the public purse of course; you know, the one that doesn't have enough money to fund essential public services.
Don’t misunderstand us...The Palace of Westminster is a truly amazing building, and probably our favourite in all the land, but can we really justify spending such an astronomical amount of money, on the repairs of just 1 building in London?
And it really is aridiculously large sum of money - even for a generation which saw the construction of the Millennium Dome (that's 'The 02' for anyone born after 1995). The lower estimate of £3bn is the equivalent of £46.88 for every man woman and child in the UK, at the higher end of the spectrum (£7bn) this rises to £109 per person.
What could this buy?
For the sake of fairness, let's assume that the total cost of the project will fall somewhere in the middle of the lower and upper estimates - about £5bn. But what would this sort of money buy the government?
735K State pensions for a year
1.5M Job Seekers Allowances for a year
2.3M Million disability living allowances for a year
Fund the entire NHS for 2 weeks
130K Nurses for a year
60K Doctors for a year
10 State-of-the-art major hospitals
83,000 New Social Houses
Now let’s recap on the times in which we live; sweeping austerity, enormous wealth gap, essential public services axed, closing hospitals, privatisation of British institutions, and, rather ironically, hundreds of millions withdrawn from the Department of Business, Innovation, and skills… Can we afford to do this? Hell no we can’t afford to do this!
I know that the MP’s want somewhere grand and glorious to do their work, but the government simply can't have it both ways… we're ‘all in this together’, and if it's austerity for some, it must be austerity for all, and unfortunately at the moment that includes The Palace of Westminster.
But such negativity, isn’t going to achieve anything; instead we have put our noggins together, and come up with a few suggestions (some sensible, some silly) about what can be done about the Westminster problem.
1. Decentralisation of government.
It seems like this is the ideal opportunity for the government to make good on its United Kingdom promises of ‘All in it together’, by decentralising government away from the London Area. There is after all no real reason why the UK’s government has to sit in its current position, and would it not be a nice gesture of solidarity to relocate many of the departments of other areas around the country? After all, over 80% of the UK population lives outside of the London Region.
That’s nothing against London, in fact we adore London, but the decentralisation of power away from this area, might help to ensure that the prosperity it has experienced, could develop in other parts of the country as well, and that would be good for everyone.
2. Get Corporate Sponsorship
If relocating to other parts of the country doesn’t go down too well, then corporate sponsorship might be an option. We’re certain there would be no shortage of companies ready to dig deep to have their name plastered across such a sacred and iconic landmark. Big Ben could become 'The Uncle Bens 'Perfect Every Time' Clock', and so forth.
3. Turn it into a museum Let’s face it, it doesn't take much imagination to envisage Westminster as the home of a load of old relics.
4.Sell it to the highest bidder If there's one thing that we have learned over the past few years, it's that there is no national treasure too precious that it can't be wrapped up and shipped off to the highest bidder. But why stop at Westminster? I bet the Cotswolds would fetch a pretty penny, and Stonehenge is just sitting there gathering dust…
We really do hope that the folks in government take heed to some of our suggestions...if not for the sake of the public, then for themselves. Austerity has been a hard sell in the UK, and until now the government has managed to just about hold on to their power; we wonder how quickly that would change, if an extravagant £3bn - £7bn self-serving project were thrown into the mix.