Local businesses and skills experts in Northern Ireland meet to discuss UK-wide benefits of the restoration of the Palace of Westminster
A group of leading businesses and skills experts from across Northern Ireland will be attending a roundtable event in Belfast tomorrow (30 November) to meet the team delivering the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal (‘R&R’) Programme. They will meet with the team planning the restoration of the Palace of Westminster and discuss how the complex restoration programme can support jobs and opportunities across Northern Ireland.
The Programme to restore the Palace of Westminster aims to utilise strengths and expertise from across the whole of the UK and to support regional growth. The R&R Delivery Authority is co-hosting this roundtable with the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry to meet 25 local businesses, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), training providers and local government representatives, to discuss how the Programme can create supply chain and contractual opportunities throughout the nations and regions of the UK.
Whilst in Northern Ireland, representatives from the Delivery Authority and UK Parliament will visit several significant and historic buildings to learn about their restorations with a view to applying relevant learnings to the R&R Programme. Prior to the roundtable event they will visit Hillsborough Castle to hear about how the design has worked in practice since they completed their heritage restoration project, and the Conservation Depot, where the Conservation Works team maintains and conserves the 187 State Care Monuments in the care of the Department for Communities. After the roundtable they will visit the Titanic Museum to learn about their collections and conservation work. The Palace of Westminster has an extensive Heritage Collection which needs to be preserved alongside restoration work on the Palace itself.
Nigel Evans MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and Chair of the R&R Programme Board, said:
'The UK-wide endeavour to restore the magnificent Palace of Westminster will support jobs across the nations and I’m delighted to see so many businesses and organisations from Northern Ireland getting involved as the programme develops plans and future opportunities.'
Andy Haynes, Commercial Director at the Houses of Parliament R&R Delivery Authority, said:
‘The restoration of the Palace of Westminster needs to be a UK-wide effort, using specialist skills and materials from around the whole of the UK to deliver a fit-for-the-future home of democracy. We are looking forward to having discussions with business leaders and local businesses in Belfast about the skills needed for the historic restoration of the Palace of Westminster, and the opportunities this will bring to organisations across Northern Ireland.’
Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said:
‘The restoration of the Houses of Parliament is the most complex restoration project which has ever been undertaken in the UK, given the palace’s world heritage site status. There are significant opportunities for Northern Ireland businesses to benefit, many of whom have the highly sought-after skills, experience and quality of workmanship which a project of this complexity demands.
‘This event is about exploring Northern Ireland’s strengths that are relevant to the Programme. It will focus on the opportunities in terms of contracts, jobs and skills programmes. In attendance, we’ll have representatives from leading construction, renewables, Mechanical and Engineering specialists and fit-out businesses, in addition to training providers and educators, all of whom will contribute to an important conversation about a project of historical significance which could deliver significant return for Northern Ireland’s supplier base.’