Social housing campaign group Generation Rent suggest that Britain’s Houses of Parliament should be converted into affordable flats to save taxpayer money and tackle the housing shortage.
Located in the centre of the UK capital, a riverside one bedroom flat in the historic building could cost as little as £258 per week, according to the activists.
With Parliament relocated to Hull, where rent is the cheapest in the country, the iconic building would be free to be converted into desirable riverside flats. The group say that by moving parliament up North would save taxpayers £120m over 5 years in subsidies for MPs’ living costs. How’s that for austerity?
Some 335 MPs rent second homes and claim expenses in London. This cost the public £5.21 million in 2013 alone, according to the campaign group.
Architect Jay Morton has drawn up detailed plans of how the renovation would look, including transforming the debating chamber in the grade 1 listed building into a communal swimming pool and library.
Morton’s vision for the Houses of Parliament has something for everyone. Families could move into three-bedroom maisonettes, located in the Palace’s lofty ceilings.
Morton said: “This redevelopment would provide a unique opportunity to renovate the existing fabric of the building and provide much needed accommodation for those who live and work in the city, while re-injecting a community back into the heart of the borough.”
The new properties would be reasonably priced for future tenants, considering the extensive views and classic architectural building envelope. A three-bedroom flat would cost £1,520 per month and a two-bed would be £1,297 per month. Current average asking prices for rent in central London are £1,269 per week for a three-bed and £1,218 for a two bed.
Whilst the ambitious plan makes perfect sense financially, the chances of it being actually happening are of course incredibly unlikely. Generation Rent says that the controversial plans aim to raise awareness about the lack of affordable housing in Britain whilst simultaneously satirising the government’s austerity policies.
Director of Generation Rent, Alex Hilton said “Renters are being crushed by high rents, poor conditions and almost no security of tenure.”
“With their generous rent allowances from the taxpayer, MPs are cocooned from the housing crisis so they're largely indifferent to the plight of renters.”
“One way our politicians could bear their share of austerity is if we relocated Parliament to the least expensive part of the country. We hope our proposal gives MPs a sense of humility and some urgency to ending the housing crisis.”