The cost of repairing Big Ben, Westminster’s world famous Elizabeth Tower, has increased by £18.6m ($24.2) due to ‘unforeseen’ issues including WWII bomb damage and the need for a clock expert, triggering Twitter.
The House of Commons has said that it is “extremely disappointed” that restoration costs for the 177-year-old clock tower in central London had risen to a mouthwatering £79.7m ($103.5m).
In a somewhat bizarre admission, Ian Ailles, director general of the House of Commons, has claimed that it was not possible to understand the “full extent of the damage” until scaffolding had gone up and a survey was carried out.
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The huge escalation in costs have been put down to issues such as asbestos, damage caused by bombs during WWII, broken glass in the clock dials, and to nobody’s surprise other than maybe Westminster officials… the need for a specialist clock expert.
The revelation that the House of Commons may not have thought hiring a clock expert would be a necessity in any refurbishment of the world-renowned… clock tower, has left many on social media scratching their heads.
Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, appeared to ridicule the notion of unforeseen costs due to the need for a “specialist clock expert,” tweeting: “Thought that would have been obvious!”
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Others online were less than sympathetic about the reasons given for the major hike in costs to the British taxpayer. One person fumed: “Why is everyone involved in these public projects so f***ing incompetent?” There were even suggestions that the refurbishment work should stop and Big Ben “demolished.”
While another person on Twitter thought the £18.6m could be put to better use by helping to get people “off the streets” and increase police and healthcare funding.
Work on the iconic bell clock began in January 2017 and is not expected to be finished until December 2021.
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