Cost of new door for House of Lords 'more than triples to £7,000,000'

Peers have accused officials of overspending after it was claimed works to renovate the House of Lords’ front door have more than tripled in cost in a year.

The overhaul, aimed at increasing security of the Peers Entrance in Parliament, was authorised last year and is due to start in the coming weeks.

It is part of a £14 billion project to restore and future-proof the whole Palace of Westminster, which will force MPs to be temporarily moved elsewhere for 12 to 15 years.

Parliamentary authorities are refusing to clarify the costs of the new entrance, but the Lords’ deputy speaker, Lord Gardiner, admitted this week that they have risen.

According to The Telegraph, the total bill has grown from £2 million to £7 million.

Lord Forsyth, the chairman of the Conservative peers’ group, says other peers have been raising concerns about the growing scale of the works.

He called the latest estimate ‘worthy of the Guinness Book of Records’, adding that it is ‘completely unacceptable that the Parliamentary authorities are refusing to answer parliamentary questions’.

He told The Telegraph: ‘At a time of great pressure on public expenditure it is surely right for taxpayers and members of Parliament to be told what is being spent when the sums involved are so enormous.’

Other peers, including crossbencher Baroness Deech, have suggested plans for new complicated security procedures may in fact leave people more vulnerable.

It’s feared that the new doors will force peers to enter slowly one by one, causing a queue at busy times that offer an ‘easy target’ for attacks from the nearby street.

Lord Gardiner, while refusing to comment on the figures, told Lord Forsyth in a parliamentary answer: ‘The cost of works to replace the door at Peers’ Entrance has increased due to delays caused by issues unearthed during initial surveys and other works taking place in the nearby area.

‘Increases were also caused by inflation, which meant tender returns came back higher than estimated.’

Security at the House of Lords costs the taxpayer more than £18 million a year, according to accounts for 2021-22.

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