asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will now arrange for a start to be made on the cleaning and restoring of the Palace of Westminster; how much the cost of cleaning the exterior of the Palace of Westminster was estimated to be when the survey was carried out in 1973; and by how much it has risen in each year until reaching the current price of £5·3 million.
In view of the present cutbacks in public expenditure, it is unlikely that this costly, though desirable, work can start in the foreseeable future. The estimated cost of cleaning the exterior of the Palace of Westminster in 1973 was £2·1 million. The estimated increases in each subsequent year are: 1974, £0·2 million; 1975, £0·5 million; 1976, £0·4 million; 1977, £0·3 million; 1978, £0·4 million; 1979, £0·8 million. I regret that the figure of £5·3 million for the current cost given in my answer to the hon. and learned Member on 26 November was based on an incorrect revaluation of the survey estimate. The present estimate is £4·7 million.