Tories' fury over renovation of 10 Downing Street at taxpayers' expense

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London, Mar 21 : Members of the Conservative Party (Tories) have reacted angrily to the news that British Prime Minister's famous 10 Downing Street home is set for a multi-million pound makeover.

Tories reacted with fury, and claimed that it would enrage families hit by soaring bills.

Shadow local government secretary Eric Pickles said: "Pensioners struggling with council tax hikes and rising utility bills will be shocked that Gordon Brown's priority as Prime Minister is to change the Downing Street curtains, strip off Cherie Blair's wallpaper and install new lavatories - all at taxpayers' expense."

There were also accusations of a bid to "bury bad news" by making the announcement as Parliament breaks up for Easter, The Sun reported.

Urgent repair work is required to Downing Street because parts of the 17th century building, renovated by William Kent in the 1730s, are rapidly deteriorating, MPs have been told.

The official residence of the British Prime Minister was last refurbished in the early 1960s, but decades of doubling as the heart of government and the Prime Minister's residence have taken a further toll on the structure.

In a written answer to MPs, Tom Watson, a junior cabinet minister, said: "Much of the infrastructure now needs to be renewed and upgraded. It has therefore been recommended that essential improvements are undertaken through ongoing annual maintenance works."

All premiers since Benjamin Disraeli in 1877 have based themselves at No 10, which today is linked to No 11, the home of the Chancellor, a larger 17th century house behind it that overlooks Horse Guards, and the Cabinet Office on Whitehall.

When Disraeli moved in, he met the cost of renovating the private apartments himself.

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