HL Deb 27 July 1999 vol 604 cc172-3WA
Lord Acton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made on the proposal to refurbish the Treasury building under the Private Finance Initiative. [HL3776]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Ministers have now approved plans for the refurbishment of the Treasury building under the terms of an innovative PFI deal with Exchequer Partnership plc (EP), the Treasury's Private Sector Partner. This flagship PFI project at the heart of Whitehall confirms the Government's commitment to PFI in the accommodation sector. On completion, the project will bring together the whole department in one modern, efficient office building fit for the 21st century. It is the first to follow the recently published Treasury Task Force PFI Standard Contract Guidance. It is also the first project where the service provider, in partnership with the Treasury, will put debt financing out to competition.

This will be the first major refurbishment of a building nearly a century old. While it needs some remedial work, the building's services also require major updating, and more flexible and efficient use needs to be made of the space within it to meet business needs. The project will achieve both, as well as providing very good value for money for the taxpayer. Work on site is expected to commence in the spring of 2000 and take two years to complete. The department will remain at the eastern (Whitehall) end of the building while its new accommodation at the western (St. James's Park) end is refurbished. The move is scheduled to take place in spring 2002, and the Treasury will then be occupying just under half of the building. The Treasury will pay as and when its accommodation needs are delivered to specified standards.

Under the terms of the PFI deal, EP are responsible for securing town planning permission and listed building consent. It is also for EP to let the non-Treasury space to another public sector tenant.