Downing Street press room has million pound refurbishment

Downing Street has spent more than £2.6m on fitting out a new media briefing room, it has emerged.

The FOI release detailed spending of over £1.8m for the “main works”, nearly £200,000 for “long lead items”, and more than £33,000 for broadband equipment.

The new briefings were expected to begin in the autumn, but have been delayed because of the pandemic.

The money had been spent to allow various news organisations to broadcast from No 9 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office said.

“This will necessarily require one-off capital works, including audio-visual equipment, internet infrastructure, electrical works and lighting,” a spokesperson said.

They added that “spending on maintenance and technical facilities reflects that 9 Downing Street is a Grade I listed building.”

Image: Andrew Parsons

Labour’s Angela Rayner contrasted the spending to the government’s proposed 1% pay rise for NHS nurses.

The party’s deputy leader said: “It would take around 100 years for a newly qualified nurse to get paid this kind of money.

“It sums up Boris Johnson’s warped priorities that he can find millions for vanity projects, while picking the pockets of NHS workers.

“Our NHS heroes deserve a fair pay rise after all they have done for us.”

A spokesman for Mr Johnson refused to comment on ‘speculation’ today after he told aides of his financial worries in crisis meetings on how to pay for his fiancee’s refurbishment.

Mr Johnson is believed to have mooted setting up a charity to pay for the extensive work to the accommodation – with several rich Tory donors lined up to make donations.

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