The Elizabeth Tower, popularly known by the name of its bell, Big Ben, voted in 2008 as London's most popular landmark and a world-famous cultural symbol of the nation has been refurbished over the last few years whilst it was in quite some need of a repair. However, the operation, which has recently ended to the delight of many, has proved a lot more expensive than initially believed. The steep jump from an initial projection of £29,000,000 in 2017, when the refurbishment began, to the £80,000,000 it has ended up being is shocking and has caused to some to ponder why so much money is spent on what they see as 'vanity projects' when there are so many other issues in the country in need of investment.

Vishesh Jaisi, a secondary school student, says, 'It is great for the country and its pride that such an iconic landmark is restored to its full glory but I must say, 80 million is an eye-watering amount and when you have budget cuts in many services across the country, particularly the NHS, was it really worth it?' His point is emphasised with NHS public satisfaction ratings reaching a twenty-five-year low, with people in need of the usual world-class medical help we are accustomed to being forced to wait long times and not being able to be treated as well in the past due to the aftermath of the pandemic. 

I believe that whilst the expensive refurbishment was needed as Big Ben is an iconic part of the country's culture and it's important for a country to ensure its historic landmarks stay in good condition. However, in the aftermath of COVID and with the Ukrainian invasion wreaking further havoc on world economies as well as the steep cost of living rise that is troubling many a household recently, the way projects like this and HS2 have cost unexpected, large amounts have started to make people even more aware about where taxpayer money is going. This money could have done so much good so for the project to overrun by 50 million has justifiably irked many people. What do you think? Do you believe it was 80 million well spent or that it was an unnecessary vanity project that has wasted yet more money, or are you in the middle?