§ Mrs. Lawrence
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made on the refurbishment of the Treasury building. 
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
Ministerial approval of plans for the refurbishment of the Treasury building under the private finance initiative was announced by the former Chief Secretary on 27 July 1999,Official Report, columns 400–01. Under the terms of the project agreement signed last year, the Treasury's private sector partner, Exchequer Partnership plc (EP), is responsible for a number of risks, including obtaining town planning and listed building consents and securing the funding to finance the works. Both conditions have now been satisfied and the deal has therefore reached financial close. Work is planned to start on site on 17 July (the date of granting vacant possession of the Park end of the building) with completion in August 2002.
The contract, which is for 37 years and one month from vacant possession, provides for the Treasury to pay an annual payment (the Unitary Payment) to EP in return for fully serviced accommodation to performance standards specified in advance. The Unitary Payment has been fixed in real terms at £14.037 million in March 1999 prices and will be up rated annually in line with the retail prices index.