§ Mr. Greenway
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the cost of cleaning (a) the Albert tower, including the face of Big Ben and (b) the remainder of the Palace of Westminster; and if he will make a statement;
(2) when he expects the cleaning of (a) the Albert tower and (b) the rest of the Palace of Westminster to be completed; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir George Young
Work on the repair, restoration and conservation of the stonework of the Clock Tower, sometimes called the Albert Tower, is expected to be completed in late 1984. A tender of £921,750 was accepted for this work. This will be the fourth major elevation to be completed, the others being New Palace Yard, the West Front and Speaker's Green.
This leaves the Terrace, the Victoria Tower and the internal courtyards, which together comprise some two-thirds of the building, to be tackled. Work on the Terrace is expected to start in the first half of 1984. On the basis of experience so far, it is likely to be towards the end of the decade before work on the Palace as a whole is finished. The scheme is a difficult one to cost in total because there are considerable variations in condition between one face and another, which can only be properly appreciated once detailed inspection from scaffolding becomes possible. At this stage, therefore, the total estimated cost is best expressed in terms of a range of figures; at mid 1983 prices this range is between £7 million and £9 million.