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SavageGrace

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« on: November 18, 2016, 02:44:29 PM »

Buckingham Palace to get ?369m refurbishment

Buckingham Palace is to undergo a 10-year refurbishment costing the taxpayer ?369m, the Treasury has announced.

The Queen will remain in residence during the work, to begin next April.

Ageing cables, lead pipes, wiring and boilers will be replaced, many for the first time in 60 years, owing to fears about potential fire and water damage.

Tony Johnstone-Burt, Master of the Queen's Household, said phased works offered the "best value for money" while keeping the palace running.

The works will be funded by a temporary increase in the Sovereign Grant, as recommended by the Royal Trustees, who include the prime minister and chancellor.

This funding change will require MPs' approval.

'Absolute disgrace'

Mr Johnstone-Burt said: "We take the responsibility that comes with receiving these public funds extremely seriously indeed; equally, we are convinced that by making this investment in Buckingham Palace now we can avert a much more costly and potentially catastrophic building failure in the years to come."

However, Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy, called for an "independent inquiry and full disclosure" into the use of taxpayers' money.

The group said on Twitter: "Royal attitude always the same: it's theirs to use and ours to pay for. Time we took the palace back and turned it into a world class museum."

Republic's CEO, Graham Smith, said the figure was an "absolute disgrace" and that monarchy costs need to be "stripped right back".

"MPs have repeatedly called on the palace to fund repairs by opening up to tourists all year round and they've refused," he said.

"The obvious question is, why have the royals let it get into this state? Why haven't they raised revenue through opening up all year round? If the royals can't look after the buildings and raise their own revenue to fund maintenance it's time to give them up."

The Treasury said an "urgent overhaul" of the palace was needed to prevent the risk of fire, flood and damage to both the building and the priceless Royal Collection of art belonging to the nation.

Pointing to the damage Windsor Castle had suffered from a fire in 1992, the Treasury said: "The restoration took more than five years, and it is estimated that similar damage to Buckingham Palace could cost up to ?250m for a single wing".

According to the Royal Household, the palace's boilers are more than 33 years old and spare parts for them are difficult to source.

Much of the wiring is considered to have the "very real risk of fire and failure", while the majority of the mechanical and electrical systems are at least 40 years old with failure an "ever increasing risk", it said.

-----

Analysis

BBC royal correspondent Sarah Campbell


Away from the splendour of the state rooms, Buckingham Palace shows its age.

It is striking while walking through the back corridors that the overall look is a little shabby.

The refurbishment is clearly long overdue and it appears the building is now at risk from electrics, plumbing and heating barely updated since the 1950s.

Questions will be asked over why the palace has been allowed to get to such a state and whether the enormous estimated costs could have been reduced if services had been regularly updated.

At a briefing on Friday, palace officials were clearly conscious that in times of austerity such expenditure needs to be justified, and they were at pains to do so.

When asked how they thought the public would react, one said they did not know but hoped "it will appeal to their sense of nationhood".

-----

Her Majesty's HQ

As Her Majesty's administrative headquarters, the Queen spends a third of the year hosting events at Buckingham Palace.

When in town, she holds weekly audiences with the prime minister, and every year welcomes more than 50,000 people as guests to state banquets, dinners, receptions and garden parties.

The palace has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

It has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837, playing host to a stream of historical figures, including author Charles Dickens, the US Presidents Woodrow Wilson and John F Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi - who wore a loin cloth and sandals to tea with King George V - Neil Armstrong and Nelson Mandela.

The occupied royal palaces are held in trust for the nation by the Queen but the cost of maintaining them falls on the government.

The works will be carried out on a phased basis, completing one wing at a time, awarding contracts separately for each phase, aiming to minimalise the financial and practical risks, the Royal Household said.

In 2014, MPs criticised the Royal Household for mismanaging its finances.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee said the Royal Household was "not looking after nationally important heritage properties adequately", saying that in March 2012, 39% of the royal estate was "below what the household deemed to be an acceptable condition".

Republic said the refurbishment was "an indictment on the Queen's scandalous mismanagement of royal finances over six decades".

It added: "MPs have repeatedly called on the palace to fund repairs by opening up to tourists all year round and they've refused".

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said: "We will ensure every penny spent achieves the greatest value for money".

He said it was only right to ensure Buckingham Palace is made "fit for purpose" for the future.

"Tourists are drawn to this country because of our culture, heritage and royal legacy, and when they visit they spend billions of pounds and support thousands of jobs," he said.

"We must ensure that the special architectural and historic nature of some of our greatest buildings are protected for future generations."

Mr Johnstone-Burt said the programme, once completed, is designed to extend the palace's working life by a further 50 years.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38025513
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Ellie

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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2016, 03:49:36 PM »

Money earmarked for BP refurbishment was given to W&K for KP, from what I read awhile ago; part of a building/refurb grant or something. I get using it on public areas like for a lot of KP and BP which is used for state events or is open to the public.

I'm surprised they've been sitting on this for so long and won't do so any longer, because I totally expected HM to wait til it would be Charles's problem, basically. Doesn't Charles intend to have it open year-round and open up more of it to the public, and not use it as a residence but an office?

BP needs to be taken care of as it belongs to the Nation. It's sad it was not kept up over the years for various reasons. HM's head in the sand once again; and we know she's pretty cheap. I wonder if a lot of it has to do with HM being so old and it having been their place of residence for so long that it doesn't bother them considering not much has changed in 60 odd years. No real refubs, no redecorating, etc.
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perdie

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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2016, 03:56:48 PM »

I was there during the summer.  They were perfectly happy to crowd paying customers in cheek by jowl, despite their fears of potential fire and water damage with dodgy boilers.  They could easily open it for longer, ignore the fact that there are plebs downstairs and fund a good amount* of the necessary refurbishments themselves.  But where's the fun in that?

*I don't believe they should have to pay all themselves; while it is used for some State occasions, the State should help pay.  But ultimately it is a Royal residence, so they should pay at least half.
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Ellie

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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2016, 03:59:05 PM »

I read something about it works out to about 37m per year, and about 50m per year surplus goes back to the government. I agree, they should pay at least half of it from their own funds. Well, HM should. But she'd rather give money to W&K for a residence they never live in (how much was that, again? 20m for KP?).

I didn't mind paying a bit to visit Buckingham Palace, but I think it's important to make sure that art's taken care of and those people who work there are paid! It was pretty cool to visit. A few weeks, months, I don't remember, after our visit they had to close one of the rooms because a piece of plaster from the ceiling fell down! I just cannot believe they have sat on this for SO long.
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MahiyaBorden

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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2016, 04:17:52 PM »

There is a freaking meltdown on Twitter after it was announced.
The main issue is what did HM do with the money she got for all these decades? How could she wait this long to do something about it?
Seriously,  can't she just step down so that Charles can take over?
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Duchess of Verona

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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2016, 04:31:12 PM »

Given that Charles is the BIGGEST spender on his lifstyle by FAR  (private harpist on full time salary, never traveles except by private jet as its 'more convenient' etc), I am not sure he will be exactly the best person to economize on finances.
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Ellie

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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2016, 04:37:42 PM »

I think HM waited because HM puts her head in the sand until forced to deal with anything.

I totally expected this to be Charles's problem, and an even bigger one, because I didn't imagine HM would change anything. Why didn't they upgrade over the years? Why wait until now when she's ninety years old?
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2016, 05:53:08 PM »


I think they released the information today to take the heat of Harry
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Trier1

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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2016, 06:15:38 PM »


I think they released the information today to take the heat of Harry
I don't think so. Throwing the Queen under the bus to take the heat from Harry? To me, this just looks like a very stubborn old lady who refuses to get "her" place modernised. A bit like, well we can put some empty buckets on the floor if the roof is leaking, no need to get some construction workers into the building who will make a lot of noise
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ralf103

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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2016, 07:51:05 PM »

I don't see the fuss, yes its a lot of money but over ten years its not that much and what is the alternative? Let BP crumble to the ground? If thats what the British people would rather than so be it but otherwise there is no other option.

The Houses of Parliament is going to be refurbished at a cost likely to be over ?1BILLION so lets all have some tea and calm down.

I think there is a potential problem in that I always thought Charles would move out of BP and open it to the public but I think that may be harder to do if ?400million has just been spent of refurbishing it.
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Lexy

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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2016, 08:41:14 PM »

I don't see the fuss, yes its a lot of money but over ten years its not that much and what is the alternative? Let BP crumble to the ground? If thats what the British people would rather than so be it but otherwise there is no other option.

The Houses of Parliament is going to be refurbished at a cost likely to be over ?1BILLION so lets all have some tea and calm down.

I think there is a potential problem in that I always thought Charles would move out of BP and open it to the public but I think that may be harder to do if ?400million has just been spent of refurbishing it.

I think the issue is more that the Queen was given money over the years for BP repairs and apparently did not use any of it for BP repairs, where did that money go? What was it used on? Not only that she let W/K redo the KP apartment (which they do not even use full time and I do realize that KP did not cost as much as BP will) instead of focusing on BP which at the end of the day is the main residence.
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ralf103

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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 10:32:24 PM »

The Queen was given money to fund the maintenance of all the official occupied royal palaces, not just BP. Whilst I agree about money being diverted from BP to the Lamebridge's its unlikely to have made a massive difference.
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Herazeus

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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2016, 10:48:56 PM »

I don't see the fuss, yes its a lot of money but over ten years its not that much and what is the alternative? Let BP crumble to the ground? If thats what the British people would rather than so be it but otherwise there is no other option.

The Houses of Parliament is going to be refurbished at a cost likely to be over ?1BILLION so lets all have some tea and calm down.

I think there is a potential problem in that I always thought Charles would move out of BP and open it to the public but I think that may be harder to do if ?400million has just been spent of refurbishing it.

I think the issue is more that the Queen was given money over the years for BP repairs and apparently did not use any of it for BP repairs, where did that money go? What was it used on? Not only that she let W/K redo the KP apartment (which they do not even use full time and I do realize that KP did not cost as much as BP will) instead of focusing on BP which at the end of the day is the main residence.

Yes. Watch the Palace PR in collusion with the media distract the public from focusing on the pertinent fact that HM has been taking money for buildings repair and upkeep for 60 YEARS (!!!) and let Buckingham Palace rot to extent that it now needs ?370M at minimum of public money to repair.

Further, when KP needed refurbishement of it's state rooms and other publicly available spaces, no money could be found. Instead, History Royal Palaces raised the required ?12M from private donors over a 4yr period and everyone ignored the elephant in the room which was that HM's annually topped up funding from the govt includes a buildings repair/maintenance stipend that was earmarked for this sort of thing.

Yet when her beloved grandson needed multiple homes refurbished at a cost of more than ?6M, the money earmarked for BP was reduced by that exact sum and the Palace justified it by saying WK were going to start official duties immediately and needed suitable accomodation. WK promptly decamped to Norfolk and EAAA.

Parliament's select committee in switvhing the civil list to Sovereign grant was scathing about mismanaged funds. It said the royal housefold frequently over-spent and covered up the overspend by raiding the reserve fund which was now depleted.

They said the royal household were unbothered about maintenance and upkeep nor did they have any incentive to do it. Further no one had ever bothered to review and cost anything related to repairs or maintenance.

The only viable recommendation and reason they were persuaded to grant the switch was so that a repairs programme could start WITHIN the increased funding that the Sovereign grant gave.

Read it and weep.

http://www.parliament.uk/...s/sovereign-grant-report/

The report treats the Queen like she has no agency and allowed them to ran riot. It's critical of tge household and the treasury when the buck stops with HM.

And now the Sovereign grant has been extended to 25%.

To be overseen by the very same people who created this mess in the first place.

Who is willing to bet that 10yrs from now, the cost will have risen to hire than this ?370 estimate, few repairs will gave been done and the Sovereign Grant will be set at 25% permanently?

There is the fact that Charles has been lobbying to have either the crown estates or the duchy of Cornwall signed to the family as personal property, so he won't give up an increased Sovereign grant without a fight.

Then there is the iron clad law written into royal funding which say that the family ( Sovereign) can's receive less in any year than they received the previous year. Which means the law as it stands is on Charles's side.

Let us also not forget that when it was suggested to the Queen to keep Buckingham Palace open longer as a money raising scheme, she refused.

Further, this was a woman forced by the govt to open the Palaces to the public to raise funds for daily upkeep of the Palaces as a concession for govt paying for the repair of Windsor Castle.

If the few weeks annual openings a year generates enough to keep the Palaces ticking over in addition to money from the buildings fund when said money isn't being diverted to personal use, clearly enough money can be raised for the repairs programme espevially if it is going to take a decade to complete.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 11:01:17 PM by Herazeus » Logged
perdie

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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2016, 11:17:40 PM »

I don't see the fuss, yes its a lot of money but over ten years its not that much and what is the alternative? Let BP crumble to the ground? If thats what the British people would rather than so be it but otherwise there is no other option.

The Houses of Parliament is going to be refurbished at a cost likely to be over ?1BILLION so lets all have some tea and calm down.

I think there is a potential problem in that I always thought Charles would move out of BP and open it to the public but I think that may be harder to do if ?400million has just been spent of refurbishing it.

I think the issue is more that the Queen was given money over the years for BP repairs and apparently did not use any of it for BP repairs, where did that money go? What was it used on? Not only that she let W/K redo the KP apartment (which they do not even use full time and I do realize that KP did not cost as much as BP will) instead of focusing on BP which at the end of the day is the main residence.

Yes. Watch the Palace PR in collusion with the media distract the public from focusing on the pertinent fact that HM has been taking money for buildings repair and upkeep for 60 YEARS (!!!) and let Buckingham Palace rot to extent that it now needs ?370M at minimum of public money to repair.

Further, when KP needed refurbishement of it's state rooms and other publicly available spaces, no money could be found. Instead, History Royal Palaces raised the required ?12M from private donors over a 4yr period and everyone ignored the elephant in the room which was that HM's annually topped up funding from the govt includes a buildings repair/maintenance stipend that was earmarked for this sort of thing.

Yet when her beloved grandson needed multiple homes refurbished at a cost of more than ?6M, the money earmarked for BP was reduced by that exact sum and the Palace justified it by saying WK were going to start official duties immediately and needed suitable accomodation. WK promptly decamped to Norfolk and EAAA.

Parliament's select committee in switvhing the civil list to Sovereign grant was scathing about mismanaged funds. It said the royal housefold frequently over-spent and covered up the overspend by raiding the reserve fund which was now depleted.

They said the royal household were unbothered about maintenance and upkeep nor did they have any incentive to do it. Further no one had ever bothered to review and cost anything related to repairs or maintenance.

The only viable recommendation and reason they were persuaded to grant the switch was so that a repairs programme could start WITHIN the increased funding that the Sovereign grant gave.

Read it and weep.

http://www.parliament.uk/...s/sovereign-grant-report/

The report treats the Queen like she has no agency and allowed them to ran riot. It's critical of tge household and the treasury when the buck stops with HM.

And now the Sovereign grant has been extended to 25%.

To be overseen by the very same people who created this mess in the first place.

Who is willing to bet that 10yrs from now, the cost will have risen to hire than this ?370 estimate, few repairs will gave been done and the Sovereign Grant will be set at 25% permanently?

There is the fact that Charles has been lobbying to have either the crown estates or the duchy of Cornwall signed to the family as personal property, so he won't give up an increased Sovereign grant without a fight.

Then there is the iron clad law written into royal funding which say that the family ( Sovereign) can's receive less in any year than they received the previous year. Which means the law as it stands is on Charles's side.


BIB - why would they have incentive, when all they have to do is say "please", and they get the money needed?  Say no, and suddenly we'll find they can either live with it or find the money.  Or say "we'll sell something valuable to the nation, unless you fund it".  Which would at least be initiative.
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Herazeus

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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2016, 11:26:42 PM »

It's a slap in the dace of every single tax payer in the modern world because these people are exceptionally venal and taking the taxpayer for every cent they can get.

Like money being found to pay off the Queen Mum's substantial debts every year whilst her own money had been put into trusts for her grandkids.

https://www.theguardian.c.../03/queenmother.monarchy2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1908696.stm
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