In November, as part of the budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £15m to improve court and tribunal buildings, and I want to set out how we intend to use this money.
I entirely understand the concerns raised by magistrates and others at the condition of some of our buildings. That’s why this extra funding is so welcome.
Following detailed discussions with the senior judiciary, I can tell you that the £15m will be spent on over 170 projects across England and Wales and will be allocated to the following priority areas:
- Larger capital projects—£4m will be spent advancing the preparation of capital maintenance projects including replacing lifts at Thames Magistrates’ Court and replacing the heating system and windows at Barnstaple Magistrates’ Courts, and improvements at several other courts across the country.
- Security—an additional £3m will be spent on security-related work in courts ensuring many more courts meet judicial security standards.
- Heating and cooling—the remaining £8m will be spent on maintenance, repairs and a number of operational improvements.
The condition of buildings across the court estate varies significantly and demand on our annual maintenance budget is significant. We make the best use of it we can, and in the last two years have spent more than before. The £15m is in addition to our existing maintenance budgets for this year, helping us to do more work sooner.
I know that even in combination with our existing budget, funding for reorganisations through reform, and partnerships with others—£15m will only go so far. But I am committed to spending it well, to make as much difference as possible to the condition of our courts; and to keep looking for ways to do more. I want to continue working in partnership with those who use and work in our courts – and to hear from you about what more needs to be done.
View full details of how HMCTS intends to spend the additional £15m funding.