The Restoration and Renewal Bill receives Royal Assent
10th September 2019
The Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill has been given Royal Assent after going through both Houses of Parliament. The resulting Act establishes the bodies that will have overall responsibility for the Restoration and Renewal (R&R) Programme.
The Programme has been set up to tackle the significant work that needs to be done to protect the heritage of the Palace of Westminster and ensure it can continue to serve as home to the UK Parliament in the 21st century and beyond.
The R&R Programme will also move both Houses temporarily out of the Palace to enable the restoration and renewal of the Palace to take place in one single phase.
The bodies that the Act will establish include:
A Sponsor Body with overall responsibility for the works;
A Delivery Authority to formulate proposals for and provide the operational delivery of the works; and
A Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission to review the Sponsor Body’s proposed expenditure and to lay the Sponsor Body’s estimates before Parliament.
The Act started its life back in October 2018, when a draft Bill was published by the Government, after which a Joint Committee was appointed to conduct pre-legislative scrutiny.
The revised Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 8 May 2019. Following completion of the Commons stages, it entered the House of Lords on 20 June. It was then passed back to the House of Commons with Lords amendments, which were approved, prior to going to the Queen for Royal Assent.
The Act covers a range of areas of responsibility for the governing bodies, including the creation of economic opportunities available across the country, engagement with the wider public, access for disabled people and the protection of the Palace’s heritage. Liz Peace, Chair of the shadow Sponsor Board said “This is really welcome news for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. Receiving Royal Assent gives the Programme an enormous boost and ensures we have the best governance and oversight.”
In addition to setting up these bodies, the Act specifies their duties, how they will operate and their relationship with each other and with Parliament.
Receiving Royal Assent means that on current timescales, the Sponsor Body will become a substantive body by Spring 2020.