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Sunday, 2 April, 2000, 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK
'20,000 nursery' denied
Tony and Cherie Blair
The Blairs' new baby is due in May
Downing Street has denied reports that the bill for a nursery for the prime minister's fourth child could be up to 20,000.

An advertisement in Builder magazine inviting firms to bid for modernisation work at Downing Street sparked speculation in several newspapers that the nursery could cost up to that amount.

Because Downing Street is a Grade I listed building and belongs to the nation, taxpayers will pick up the bill.

But a Downing Street spokesman described the reports as "garbled and inaccurate".


blairs
The Blairs have made No 11 their family home
He stressed the figure was one quote from a firm interested in the contract.

The advertisement itself did not mention any contract value, nor did it specify exactly what work was required on the buildings.

The spokesman did acknowledge: "There is an ongoing modernisation programme, which takes into account the family circumstances of the Prime Minister."

The potentially lucrative contract is to cover changes to rooms in Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street.

No decision has yet been taken by the Cabinet Office - which is managing the modernisation work - on which firm to employ, the spokesman said.

Although No 10 Downing Street is the Prime Minister's official residence, the Blair family actually lives at No 11, Chancellor Gordon Brown's official residence, where there is more living space.

Mr Brown has his own house elsewhere in Westminster.

It is thought that the work to create a nursery for the Blairs' new baby - due at the end of May - will straddle the adjacent buildings.

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