The right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, was asked was asked—
Restoration and Renewal: Opportunities for Harrogate and Knaresborough
Restoring Parliament will use UK materials wherever possible and create jobs and apprenticeships in the supply chain across the UK, from high-tech design to traditional stonemasonry. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that the project has already engaged with a Harrogate business providing professional services on procuring works on a value-for-money and UK-wide basis.
I am grateful to hear that—I did not know about that Harrogate business. In addition to promoting opportunities for businesses in Harrogate and Knaresborough, I was trying to get at an underlying point: the wider the contracts and benefits of the restoration project are spread around our country, the broader the support will be for the large sum of money involved in it. I am sure we have all heard people say, “You lot down in Westminster—”, as if Parliament has nothing to do with them. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this project has the capacity to either compound or militate against that?
I do agree. My hon. Friend is right: it will be a large sum of money, and it is essential not only that best value is secured for that money, but that the benefits of it are spread, and visibly so, across the country. The programme is currently working on its supply chain plans and is already recruiting. The shared apprenticeship scheme is an example of an innovative approach to make sure that smaller firms can also share in the benefits of the programme.