HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 cc254-6W

Official Report, 3 February 1997: In col. 458–59, written answers, the question and answer relating to the new parliamentary building should read as follows:

Mr. Dixon

To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee when construction of the new parliamentary building will commence; and if he will make a statement. [11925]

Sir Raymond Powell

I am pleased to report that good progress is being made with the design and procurement of the new building. Contracts for over 70 per cent. of the work by value have been awarded. For example, prefabrication of the roof is proceeding apace in Lancashire, of the stone columns in Derbyshire and the contractors are well advanced with the detailed design and ordering of the mechanical and electrical services.

It had been planned that work would start on site today, 3 February 1997. Unfortunately London Underground Ltd. and its contractor have not made as much progress as they planned with the construction of the new Westminster station and are not able to hand back the site. My Committee has taken evidence in public and in private from the chief executive of LUL and from the project director on a number of occasions and, while we appreciate the magnitude of their task, they have been left in no doubt of the considerable disappointment that they have not been able to return the site on the due date. In due course the House will be pursuing the remedies available under the terms of the agreement with LUL.

At this stage I cannot advise my right hon. Friend when work will start on site. There have been progressive slippages in the forecast date for the first stage handover and all the indications are that the current forecast of 29 July 1997 may not be achieved. My Committee continues to press London Underground and will keep the matter under continuous scrutiny.

Until there is a date from London Underground in which we can have confidence, it is not possible to give a firm date for the completion of the building. The aim, however, is that occupation should start during the summer recess 2000.