Thank you for contacting me about the renovation of the Downing Street flat occupied by the Prime Minister.
Downing Street is an historic working complex containing several buildings and two ministerial residences. The Government is legally required to maintain Downing Street buildings to standards appropriate to their Grade I and Grade II listed status.
As I am sure you can imagine, their status as well as security and other factors, can lead to a significantly increased cost for maintenance and repairs. Prime Ministers across successive governments have been provided with an allowance of up to £30,000 a year to contribute to the maintenance and furnishing of residency in the Downing Street estate.
The report by Lord Geidt, the Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests, shows the Prime Minister acted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, and sets out the background to the intended establishment of a Downing Street Trust. The Prime Minister has made a declaration in his List of Ministerial Interests, as advised by Lord Geidt. At all times, the Prime Minister has acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct. Cabinet Office officials were engaged and informed throughout and official advice was followed. The costs of the wider refurbishment of the flat are not being financed by taxpayers, but have been settled by the Prime Minister personally.
The Government has been considering the merits of whether works on parts or all of the Downing Street estate could be funded by a trust. There are existing long-standing arrangements in place for similar listed buildings with historical significance, such as Chequers and Dorneywood, which reduce the need for such taxpayer funding.
At all times, the Government and Ministers have acted in accordance with the appropriate codes of conduct. Cabinet Office officials have been engaged and informed throughout and official advice has been followed.
The overriding aim throughout has been to reduce the need for taxpayers’ money to fund the works and maintain a listed building owned by the nation. Matters concerning current works to the Downing Street estate, including residences, more broadly are covered in the Cabinet Office annual report and accounts.