AN eye-watering £60 million has been spent on Westminster refurbishment "vanity projects" and safety upgrades, new figures reveal.

The public cash has gone on work to tiles, doors and more on the ageing parliamentary estate.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown says that’s “downright abhorrent” at a time when there’s a squeeze on ordinary households’ income, with the Conservative government opting to cut Universal Credit and increase National Insurance.

Brown said: “The UK Government never seem to have the funds to support those on the lowest incomes yet manage to find millions of pounds to revamp their offices, and billions of pounds to on weapons of mass destruction. Their priorities are all wrong.”

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Information from the cross-party House of Commons Commission, which is responsible for the upkeep and management of the Palace of Westminster and the rest of the parliamentary estate, reveals what’s been spent on work to a list of projects indoors and outdoors.

Upgrades to the doors of the Central Lobby runs to an estimated £3.8m, according to the disclosures, while £4.6m has been approved for the river terrace stone restoration programme.

Work to replace encaustic tiles, which is now completing, will have a price tag of around £11.8m, and refurbishments to 11 “priority” lifts runs to £5.05m. The rest of that work, to 42 other elevators in the Palace of Westminster and 15 elsewhere, has an estimated cost of £35.9m.

Commons bosses say that work “will deliver a full electrical and mechanical refurbishment to the lifts so that they continue to be safe to use” and ensure that they are compliant with current standards.

A trial restoration of a section of cloisters close to St Stephen’s Chapel had a price tag of £1.4m. And it’s not known what the full spend will be on the remaining sections because Commons authorities are “at the early stages” of the process.

The National:

Meanwhile, it’s still not known how much the public will pay for works on the Big Ben belltower. Refurbishments on the landmark Elizabeth Tower are set to complete next summer.

But Brown has hit out at the works against a backdrop of continued public austerity.

The government is to go ahead with the withdrawal of the temporary £20 uplift to Universal Credit, introduced to see low-income households through the pandemic, despite widespread condemnation from expert agencies.

And the Treasury is to go ahead with an increase to National Insurance in order to fund health and social care in England. Both moves will see paychecks decrease. Brown said: “The amount of taxpayers’ money being spent on renovating Westminster is eye-watering.

“At a time when the poorest in our society are having their income slashed, and seeing their National Insurance increase, it is downright abhorrent that the UK government think it is acceptable to spend such vast sums of money on vanity projects.”

He went on: “There can be no doubt that the only way to protect Scotland from rogue Westminster spending, and future austerity measures, is to become an independent country with the full powers required to build a strong, fair and progressive future.”

Downing Street declined to comment. The House of Commons Commission said the works were necessary and required specialist skills. The Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions were contacted by The National.