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Specialist skills shortage poses 'risk' to £4bn Parliament restoration

A lack of specialist skills across the sector could “hamper” the parliamentary restoration programme, according to a joint committee report.

The committee, which was appointed in July 2015 to oversee the restoration project, released recommendations yesterday for parliament to fully decant in order for major works to start around 2020-23.

The report states that there might be “insufficient skills available in the market to tackle the scale of the challenge” and that a lack of specialist skillsets could “hamper” the programme.

Committee member Baroness Stowell said the report acknowledged the skills shortage was a “risk” to the project, but said the issue also presented a “huge opportunity” to “resuscitate the industry”.

She said: “We have to use this as an opportunity to make sure we have the skills for buildings such as this to be maintained in the decades ahead.”

The report states that despite the skills shortage, the restoration programme will present “significant opportunities” for SMEs throughout the UK.

Committee member and Labour MP Chris Bryant said: “I guess that there will be dozens of SMEs involved.”

Theresa May is expected to back the recommendations for a full decant.

The report had been expected to be released in early 2016, but Construction News revealed in July that it would be delayed until autumn.

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