Repair costs for the tower that houses London’s Big Ben have doubled to £61 million (€69 million), according to parliamentary authorities.
In spring 2016, estimated costs for the renovation of Elizabeth Tower were £29 million (€33 million), but authorities say the project is more complex and extensive than predicted.
The estimated time for completion remains the same, with the project set to be finalised within four years. Until then, Big Ben will remain silent. It last chimed on August 21 this year.
Surveys are still being carried out to pinpoint the extent of repairs, although many structural issues have already been identified.
The tower, built in 1859 and last renovated in 1985, has cracks in its stonework and severe rust on its metal structures. The Great Clock will also go through repairs, particularly on its hands, mechanisms and pendulum.
The renovation will also focus on improving fire safety at the iconic landmark.
The elevated refurbishment costs have sparked criticism from members of Parliament.
Twitter users have also responded angrily, with many making reference to the tragedy at Grenfell tower.
Before we pay £62m to repair Big Ben surely we should ensure funding is in place to make all tower blocks in UK safe from fire ?— Duncan Bannatyne
(@DuncanBannatyne) September 30, 2017
If you’re disabled,on zero hour contract or struggling on a minimum wage cheer up,in 5 years Big Ben & Buckingham Palace will look brilliant— John
pitchford (@Johnnypapa64) September 29, 2017
Big Ben : I seriously do not want to pay £61m for a clock. Especially when our sick/disabled & homeless are suffering .— Nadeem Ahmed (@Muqadaam) September 29, 2017