Friday, June 27, 2008

Heartbreak: Queen Can't Afford to Redecorate

Living off the public has its limitations.
The man who controls the royal purse-strings has complained that the Queen cannot afford to redecorate or even maintain royal buildings such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle because of the cumulative effect of a government funding freeze.

The cost of keeping the Queen and the Royal Family rose £2 million last year to £40 million, driven largely by a packed itinerary of foreign trips. That equates to 66 pence per taxpayer for the year.

In publishing the Royal Household’s annual financial report today, the Queen’s accountant, Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, warned of a £32m black hole in funding, which has caused a backlog in maintenance and repair work. The Palace is also having to compete against the Olympics for more funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The Goverment has rejected repeated requests from Buckingham Palace to bolster the property grant, which is frozen at £15 million for the next three years. That has left officials unable to order asbestos removal, rewiring and re-roofing work, which they say is badly needed.
Must really suck having to squeeze by on a mere £40 million a year, a figure some say is on the low side.
Republic, the anti-monarchy campaign group, said that the true bill to the taxpayer would be nearer £150 million a year if the cost of police and army security were included.

Its spokesman, Graham Smith, said that the Queen should receive a fixed salary managed by the Government and that Parliament should set an annual budget for the monarchy.

“There is a clear need to reform the royal finances, so we can all be sure they are entirely transparent and accountable,” he said. “It is high time the monarchy abided by the same standards of accountability as the rest of Government."
Good luck with that.

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