Queen Elizabeth II is considered to be economical, but according to a parliamentary report she is living beyond its means: Despite a higher budget, the palace had to re-tap state reserves. The parliamentarians criticize the lax handling of taxpayers’ money.
Loyalty to the king leaves in the UK like to print a picture that shows Queen Elizabeth II on one of the pompous fireplaces at Buckingham Palace. In the fireplace, however, one sees no cozy fire, but a cheap heater. The message is clear: Her Majesty is economical, it pays – just like their non-noble countrymen – on the heating bill.
Obviously, however, the queen is not efficient enough. In the financial year 2012/13 the royal household spent 33.3 million pounds for personnel, travel and upkeep of the palaces. These were provided 2.3 million pounds more than the British government. The Royal House therefore had to once again tap into a state reserve fund, which has now shrunk to a historical low of one million pounds.
This came in the British House of not good. The Queen would not be well advised by the palace administration and the Ministry of Finance, according to the annual report of the Budget Control balance in Parliament. The royal household had to “be better” in the spending plan, said the committee chairman Margaret Hodge. Also, the Ministry of Finance should play a more active role as an inspector.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) believes over a third of the Royal estate, which includes both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, is in disrepair and has put the cost of fixing it at around £50m.
Margaret Hodge MP, who chairs the committee, told : “Forty per cent of it needs something doing to it.
“The boilers at Buckingham Palace haven’t been replaced for 60 years.
“Windsor Castle has problems with the bedrooms and the Royal Picture Gallery has buckets to catch the water coming through.”
It is the first time that Parliament has scrutinised the Sovereign Grant given to the Queen to support her public duties.
It also calls on the Palace to do more with less.
In a financial climate where many public institutions have had to make dramatic cuts the Royal household has only managed to reduce its expenditure by 5% in the last six years.
The committee believes there is scope to generate more income and reduce costs – possibly by opening Buckingham Palace to the public for more than just one month a year.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The Royal household was charged by the PAC in 2009 to generate more income to supplement the funding it receives from Government.
“This has been done successfully. In 2012-13 the household generated £11.6m in comparison with £6.7m in 2007-8. Work on income generation continues.
“A significant financial priority for the Royal household is to reduce the backlog in essential maintenance across the occupied Royal palaces.
“Recent examples of work include the renewal of a lead roof over the royal library at Windsor and the removal of asbestos from the basement of Buckingham Palace.”
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