Who should pay for the upkeep of Buckingham Palace?

November 21 2016

Image of Who should pay for the upkeep of Buckingham Palace?

Picture: BuckinghamPalace.co.uk

There's been a hoo-ha here in the UK over news that an extra £36.9m is to be provided by the government to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The programme will last for next ten years, so the total will therefore be £369m. 

Many have expressed outrage that 'the Royals' are getting this extra cash. There's the inevitable petition, and of course some over the top online comments:

the richest woman in the country should not be given, or take handouts from the government whilst there's kids living in poverty, pensioners freezing to death and the country is on its knees. Remember the Romanovs?

The Labour party has said the Queen should 'do the decent thing' and pay for this herself - despite the fact that the Palace is not 'hers', and is almost exclusively used for public events throughout the year. 

I used to work at Buckingham Palace, many years ago, during one of their Summer openings. Even then it was obvious that behind the scenes (and sometimes in front too) the place was getting tired around the edges. The money is to be spent not on redecoration or luxury, but on humdrum things like re-wiring. It's essential maintenance, required to make sure the place doesn't burn down or fall down.

So I hope the government doesn't do a U-turn on this. Of course, we're only in this position because spending on general maintenance is never done with public buildings; we wait till it's about to collapse, and then panic. Another royal palace, Westminster, is a good example - that requires a refurbishment costing billions.

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