Britain is experiencing a national crisis in housing and the National Health Service, while austerity is forcing cuts in many social services. Yesterday, the press announced a decision by the British prime minister and chancellor to pay an additional £369m from the public purse for a major 10-year refurbishment to Buckingham Palace, the royal family’s opulent residence in London. Political opponents and petitioners assert that the Crown and its estates should be made to fund their own renovations. They argue that the royal family’s demand for this public subsidy cannot be justified as the Crown`s wealth is inestimable.
Almost 15,000 people have signed a petition calling for the royal family to pay for the £369 million repairs to Buckingham Palace.
Yesterday it was announced that the royal residence is to undergo a major 10-year refurbishment.
The hefty bill will come from a 66% increase in the Sovereign Grant – the funding for the monarchy’s official duties – for the 10-year period, with the total works estimated to cost £369 million.
But thousands of people are livid at the thought of their tax money paying for Her Maj’s luxury pad.
A petition suggesting The Crown and its estates should pay for the renovations has received just shy of 15,000 backers at time of publishing.
Mark Johnson, who set up the petition, said: “There is a national housing crisis, the NHS is in crisis, austerity is forcing cuts in many front line services.”
“Now the Royals expect us to dig deeper to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The Crown’s wealth is inestimable. This is, in a word, outrageous.”
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The refit, described by officials as ‘essential’, will include replacing boilers, and miles of cables, pipes and electrical wires when it begins in April next year, subject to Parliamentary approval.
It is estimated that the benefits of the upgrade, including longer summer opening hours, more private tours and savings due to the improvements, could be around £3.4 million each year.
It is also forecast that the work, taken wing by wing, beginning with the front of the London landmark after essential works are completed in the first two years, will reduce the palace’s carbon footprint by 40% in the future.
Should the royals pay for the repairs to Buckingham Palace?
The Queen spends around a third of the year hosting garden parties, receptions, investitures and other events at her official home.
The work needed reflects the age of the building, which was first used as a royal palace by Queen Victoria and has not been decorated since 1952, the year the Queen ascended the throne.
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales are ‘completely supportive’ of the refit, officials said.
When the work is finished in 2027, the grant is expected to return to its current level of 15%.
See the petition
Buckingham Palace to undergo `essential` £370m refurbishment