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Published date : 27 August, 2012

The SNP's Pete Wishart MP has expressed astonishment at the price tag for planned refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament, which has been estimated to cost at least £3 billion.

Reports in the Sunday Times reveal the House of Commons commission, chaired by the Speaker John Bercow, is currently investigating the options for the refurbishment, which could begin in 2015. It may also involve evacuating the Houses of Commons and Lords, and building a replica chamber while the overhaul takes place. 

One supporter of the plan suggests that if the MPs do not move out the bill could rise to as much as £10 billion.

Mr Wishart said:

"This is an astonishing sum of money to fork out refurbishing the Houses of Parliament. It shows the Westminster buildings are in as much need of an overhaul as the political system itself.

"Like the unreformable institutions it houses, the building is way past its sell by date.

"This puts the much-criticised Holyrood project into perspective. With estimates for refurbishment, let alone relocations, starting at an incredible £3 billion, it is seven times the final bill for the Scottish Parliament - and that's before the work even gets off the ground. 

"This massive bill is one 'union dividend' that the anti-independence campaigners won't be keen to put on their flyers. 

"A yes vote in the independence referendum in 2014 will save people in Scotland that enormous cost and move all decisions to a modern, progressive Parliament at Holyrood."

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