Despite the plans being put on hold, a new Legco HQ will be ready by 2008 Hong Kong lawmakers have been assured that they will be provided with a new Legislative Council building by the 2008 election. The assurance has come even though plans to build it at the Tamar site in Admiralty have been put on hold for six months while the government reassesses its financial position. Should the $4.9 billion project eventually go ahead, legislators will still get their new building by the time of the election, it was revealed yesterday. 'The government told us if the project is resumed in six months' time, we would still have a new Legco building by 2008 because construction was originally scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2007,' said the council's president, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai. But even if the Tamar site project is permanently shelved, legislators have been assured a new home will be found for them at a different location. Legislators have long argued that there is not enough space in the current Legco building. The problem will worsen if electoral reforms lead to an increase in the number of lawmakers in the 2008 poll. The Tamar project was halted on Monday just before tendering was due to begin because the government said it wanted to look again at how public money should be spent in light of the economic impact of the Sars virus. The government, which is struggling to rein in a record deficit, has already spent $11.8 billion to revive the economy. Legislators argue that a new Legco building is essential. 'We have just 60 seats for legislators in the building now, and there won't be enough seats if we decide to have more members in 2008,' said Mrs Fan. Many legislators are also unhappy because the government did not consult them before halting the project. Mrs Fan said: 'We're surprised by the decision because it was only two weeks ago that the public works subcommittee approved the project after long discussions with the government. 'The government decided to halt the construction without consulting us.' Lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said: 'It is unacceptable. You just can't say one thing today and another tomorrow. 'Being the major user of the finished project, the government should look at the interest of the smaller users, especially when the smaller one is the legislature.' But Tsang Yok-sing, leader of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, argued that it was right for the government to focus its resources on reviving the battered economy. Last night, a government spokeswoman said there would be no need to compensate the tenderers. 'The pre-qualification document states that the government reserves the right to cancel the tender for any reasons and that the government shall not be liable for any costs or expenses incurred or suffered by the applicants in preparing their submissions,' she said. Industry sources said some of the five affected constructors had considered taking the government to court over their losses but decided it would be useless given the clause.