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Repair costs for the Elizabeth Tower have been doubled [Image: PA].

If I’m reading this right, initial repair cost estimates were kept low to stop companies from artificially inflating their prices.

But now we’re being told that the cost has more than doubled, based on “better” information.

So what, exactly, was the point of the lower amount, which was only quoted to us all less than 18 months ago?

And why was the announcement sneaked out quietly on a Friday evening – in the hope that nobody would notice?

It seems like just another grubby attempt to hoodwink the general public.

Despite all Theresa May’s – and the other Tories’ – recent rhetoric, they are still pushing ahead with austerity for the poor, so projects that deserve public money are being neglected in order to push public money at vanity projects like this. There is nothing seriously wrong with the tower; the decision has been made to push money at it in order to save cash later.

But in the light of other pressures on public funds, is it really money wisely spent?

Some would say it isn’t:

The Tories are really shaking that Magic Money tree, aren’t they? Let’s remember to remind them of this, next time they tell us there’s no cash for anything useful.

Repair costs for the clock tower which houses the famous bell known as Big Ben have now doubled to an estimated £61 million, parliamentary authorities have said.

The conservation project for the Elizabeth Tower in the Palace of Westminster, London, was originally priced at £29m in the spring of 2016.

The House of Commons and House of Lords Commissions have been told that the increase in costs is due to a better understanding of the complexity of the work needed to restore the tower.

In a joint statement the clerk of the House of Commons, the clerk of the Parliaments and the director general of the House of Commons, said: “We acknowledge that there have been estimating failures and we understand the concern of the commissions.

“In advance of tendering contracts, the initial high level estimates were set at a lower level to avoid cost escalation from the market.

“Subsequent estimates, using better data and more extensive surveys, better reflect the true likelihood of the costs.”

Read more: Repair costs for Elizabeth Tower which houses Big Ben double to estimated £61 million


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