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Author Topic: Buckingham Palace to get ?369m refurbishment  (Read 3831 times)
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Celia

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« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2016, 11:40:58 PM »

They spent money on maintenance, not upgrades.  Now it's time, at long last, to do the upgrades.  When the Queen Mother died, Clarence house hadn't had any significant work done on it since the late 40s.  They spent a lot of money getting it refurbished for Charles to move in.

If the upgrades had been done in 2008, when the financial crisis hit, don't you think people would have blown up even more?  If the queen has been the decision maker here, which I doubt, they I can see her saying "let's not be seen to be spending large sums yet." 

Ditto the Lamebridges moving in to Princess Margaret's old home.  Work hadn't been done on the place since she moved in in the early 60s. 

Since the money comes from the Crown Estate, not taxes, and the palace belongs to the Crown, not the queen, I don't see a problem.  I still don't know what the government does with *their* share of the profits. 
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2016, 12:48:56 AM »

I'm wading into something I am not an expert on, but some thoughts for what they are worth. I've been under the impression that BP has been crumbling for quite awhile and frankly the longer you let building works go the worse the problems become, the more expensive they will end up being. So the Queen being frugal and not wanting to spend the money until she absolutely has too wasn't a virtue. It ends up being even worse! I cannot fathom why the Queen was allowed to let BP get to the state it is in. Are any of her "private" estates in such disrepair? Are the ceilings of Balmoral or Sandringham crumbling and threatening to knock out some unsuspecting person? Honest question there. My assumption would be that they are not. Unless something changes in the reign of Charles, BP is seen as the monarchs home and should have been cared for accordingly even above their private estates in my opinion.
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Herazeus

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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2016, 10:11:34 AM »

They spent money on maintenance, not upgrades.  Now it's time, at long last, to do the upgrades.  When the Queen Mother died, Clarence house hadn't had any significant work done on it since the late 40s.  They spent a lot of money getting it refurbished for Charles to move in.

If the upgrades had been done in 2008, when the financial crisis hit, don't you think people would have blown up even more?  If the queen has been the decision maker here, which I doubt, they I can see her saying "let's not be seen to be spending large sums yet." 

Ditto the Lamebridges moving in to Princess Margaret's old home.  Work hadn't been done on the place since she moved in in the early 60s. 

Since the money comes from the Crown Estate, not taxes, and the palace belongs to the Crown, not the queen, I don't see a problem.  I still don't know what the government does with *their* share of the profits. 

1. The Parliament Select Committee report in 2014 reviewed financial mismananagement and were specific about the neglect of the buildings. The report specifically says no maintenance OR repairs was ever carried out nor did anyone in the household care. They worked out that 39% of all the buildings are beliw the standard set by the national trust.

The Sovereigh grant was set at a higher % than the average sums handed out gor the civil list partly on condition yhat the household put together a programme of maintenance and repair. The money for this new programme was to come from the increased funding.

We saw the blantant mismanagement and diversion of funds with how WK's multi-million refurbishment was funded from money that had been earnarked for Buckingham Palace.

2. The state of Margaret's apartment being in such disrepair that it needed more than ?6M is a myth.

Firstly, Historic Royal Palaces refurbished it as part of their planned exhibition space.

They held a couple of exhibitions in it and we have pictures/videos of the state apartment was in during the exhibition

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=htSvZDvIf5I

Margaret genuinely needed to spend money to make the space habitable, then Historic Royal Palaces brought it upto code and WK not so much.

Example 1
The hallway

How Margaret found it
https://lh5.ggpht.com/-C7...age328%25255B1%25255D.png

Margaret refurbishment

https://lh4.ggpht.com/-Uf...age325%25255B1%25255D.png

Royal historic Palaces

https://lh3.ggpht.com/-MI...age193%25255B1%25255D.png

During the exhibition
https://lh5.ggpht.com/-Tr...image%25255B69%25255D.png

WK toured it during Historic Royal Palaces tenure

Example 2:
The drawing room
How Margaret Found it

https://lh4.ggpht.com/-eH...age468%25255B1%25255D.png

Margaret refurbishment
https://lh5.ggpht.com/-AN...age489%25255B1%25255D.png

WK refurbishment
http://akns-images.eonlin...-with-royals-2-042216.jpg

http://akns-images.eonlin...a-prince-harry-042216.jpg

http://img.wennermedia.co...300-8aa1-5832a2d43b68.jpg

Example 3
The dining room

How margaret found it
https://lh4.ggpht.com/-F0...age292%25255B1%25255D.png

Margaret refurbishment
https://lh3.ggpht.com/-4y...age389%25255B2%25255D.png

Historic Royal Palaces
https://lh3.ggpht.com/-Um...image%25255B32%25255D.png

https://lh4.ggpht.com/-ij...image%25255B71%25255D.png


What has been forgotten is that Margaret's wasn't on the list of available KP apartments that were shown to WK due to Historic Royal Palaces having occupied and leased Margaret's apartment and adapted it for their own use.

They specifically asked for Margaret's apartment despite it being unavailable and decided that was the apartment for them.

The Queen had to buy out the lease from Historic Royal Palaces and reinbursed them the cost of the refurbishment.

WK then refurbished again. They took out walls and that's what disturbed the asbestos which necessitated a more extensive refurbishment. Not forgetting that the entire decorating had yo be done twice because Kate apparently chose the wrong colours (purple) and interior decorator.

Finally, when KP needed a major refurbishment, Historic Royal Palaces raised the £12M from a combination of private donors and charity donations and undertook a 4yr programme of refurbishment that was finally revealed in 2012.

Meanwhile part of the Queen's stipend from the govt FOR 60 YEARS has been spent on goodness knows what because the govt found no programme of repairs or maintenance.



« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 11:21:32 AM by Herazeus » Logged
LadyCate

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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2016, 04:30:37 AM »

I am inclined to not see this as such a big deal in that we are talking 46 million USD per year for ten years - the MP's spend more than that on their free alcohol (well not quite but close).

The whole thing is so confused - the claim is that the Queen did nothing for BP - but I have seen film of the asbestos removal being done.  Asbestos removal is wickedly expensive too.

I have a 130 year old farm house and every time we try to do even minor things they turn into major events.  Opening the wall in an old home can be an entry into massive expense.  So I can imagine what you discover when you open a wall in a place like KP or BP.

I also think the Queen's longevity is part of the issue - if she had reigned for less years BP would have been refurbished when the new monarch arrived.  Instead everything has been allowed to fester.

Parliament is the same story - they let it go so long it now is going to cost something like 6 million pounds -

It seems to me it all has been mismanaged - but it needs doing.  So there you are.



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Herazeus

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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2016, 10:51:48 AM »

Let's be clear. Buckingham Palace needs refurbishing. It has needed refurbishing for decades. For as long as i can remember there have been quaint 'cute' stories about how staff told the Queen directly that some part of it was falling down or needed replacing and she ignored them or told them she would instruct the appropriate personage to look into it, and no follow through.

All these quaint 'cute' stories were told in service of promoting her as a very parsimonious person unlike Charles whose care for his properties was seen as outright profligate and or self-indulgence.

The point being that as with all things, the Queen waited until it was crisis levels of refurbishment or maintenance before she did anything about it.

And i can't stress enough the government report that found that there has been no effort to maintain OR repair anything for 60YEARS.

The report found that 39% of the property for which she is directly responsible, which is property of National heritage, has been allowed to deteriorate to below National trust standard.

The other Palaces have had to figure out different ways to fund their maintenance or repair programmes.

Meanwhile the Queen has been receiving an annual sum of money from the government that was specifically earmarked for buildings repair or maintenance for 60YEARS.

what has she been doing with that money?

For starters, we know she spent over ?6M in 2014 on WK's apartment.

For argument's sake, let's say she receives only ?6M per year for repairs or maintenance, cumulatively she has received ?360M.

Where has that money been spent?

We know it didn't go to repairs or maintenenance because a govt inspection found no such programme in place. They also found that no one had ever bothered to create such a programme to review or cost anything that might require repair or maintenance.

Worse, they found that no one cared.

It is all in the damning report from 2014.

Yet every year when the annual accounts are published, there is always a tick for good compliance/spend in the 'buildings' repair and maintenance' section of the accounts.

And the scandal regarding the accounts is that the treasury is supposed to scrutinise the submitted accounts carefully and apparently don't bother.

Another point in the 2014 report.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 11:19:41 AM by Herazeus » Logged
rosella

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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2016, 11:03:43 AM »

I have been saying for years that a completely independent State body should take over the care, maintenance and refurbishment of places like BP, Windsor, Holyroodhouse and KP. I do not think that the Queen or any family member has had their hand in the cookie jar spiriting money away for other purposes all these years. Nevertheless the running of this has been hopelessly inefficient to allow things to get to this crisis level. Something like the Dutch or Spanish way of looking after old palaces, castles and apartments seems so much better.
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Clara
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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2016, 11:12:29 AM »

I agree with rosella that this story (or the 2014 parliamentary report) has demonstrated the need of an independent body to take over the running and the maintenance of the palaces, but it doesn't look like Elizabeth would accept those terms.

And they may not have been caught with the hands in the proverbial cookie jar, but if it's true that there's been money earmarked for this purpose for over 60 years, and they've used it for other stuff this is a scandal. They should have a lot of money stored away for this, unless they have misspent it, or worse.
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Herazeus

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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2016, 11:45:40 AM »

.....but we do have one example of hands in the cookie jar. Namely WK's refurbishments.

The Palace was at pains to explain that they hadn't needed extra taxpayer money despite admitting taxpayer money had been used to the tune of *?6M+ to refurbish their two homes.

They brazenly said the money had been taken from pot earmarked for Buckingham Palace repairs.

They justified this action by saying William and Kate were about to start full official duties and required official residences.

As we know, soon after that W started at EAAA and Kate disappeared to Norfolk to be a Stay-at-home mum. Egg on the Palace faces, but no reporter followed any of this up.

*i'm inclined to believe this was not the full sum because ?1M was said to be spent in year 1 to remove asbestos - reasonable explanation and no one objected, ?6M in year 2 (4.5 on KP, 1.5 on Anmer) which prompted above explanation, and an undisclosed sum in year 3 due to do-over decorations because apparently Kate had chosen wrong colours and decorators.

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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2016, 10:33:05 PM »

Well we need to remember that Anmer didn't come out of the official funds for upkeep of the Palaces, it came from private funds.

The idea that the Queen had millions to spend on maintenance each year and used it for something else is fanciful. Yes, some of the money earmarked for BP was spent of W&Ks KP apartment - but I truly believe at the time the Queen and all her staff thought they would be using it as their main home so saw it as a necessary expense to allow W&K to carry out their official duties...well W&K tricked them there.

You can read how the old Grant in Aid for maintenance was spent each year in the Annual financial reports here:

https://www.royal.uk/site..._grant-in-aid_2007-08.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/site...ces_grant-in-aid_0809.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/site..._aid_maintenance_2009.pdf


and since the grant in aids were scrapped and replaced by one SovereignGrant each report clearly lists the ways maintenance and improvements were made:

https://www.royal.uk/media-packs

I think people are forgetting that the amount the government use to grant in each in the property grant in aid had to be spent on St James Palace, Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Mews, Clarence House and the Mews at Marlborough House, Kensington Palace (not including those parts managed by Historic Royal Palaces), Hampton Court Mews and Paddocks, Windsor Castle, Windsor Castle Mews, Windsor Home Park and Windsor Great Park. For each of these the grant had to cover (or in part cover):

Utilities - heating, electric, gas
Fire and H&S Services
Upkeep of Gardens
oh and the salaries of over 100 people including craftspeople, H&S officers, maintenance officers in all the major palaces, a central maintenance unit and a central admin office as well as telephone operators.

In addition the Property Grant was also required to be used for some 'communication costs' which included the Court Post Office & The Royal Court switchboards.

I agree that there has been an element of mismanagement but I do truly thing its not for lack of effort on the part of the Household. The problem is when you have a set amount and lots of ongoing costs to pay for where do you get the money from to pay for bigger projects?
 
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Herazeus

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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2016, 06:58:37 PM »

Well we need to remember that Anmer didn't come out of the official funds for upkeep of the Palaces, it came from private funds.

The idea that the Queen had millions to spend on maintenance each year and used it for something else is fanciful. Yes, some of the money earmarked for BP was spent of W&Ks KP apartment - but I truly believe at the time the Queen and all her staff thought they would be using it as their main home so saw it as a necessary expense to allow W&K to carry out their official duties...well W&K tricked them there.

You can read how the old Grant in Aid for maintenance was spent each year in the Annual financial reports here:

https://www.royal.uk/site..._grant-in-aid_2007-08.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/site...ces_grant-in-aid_0809.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/site..._aid_maintenance_2009.pdf


and since the grant in aids were scrapped and replaced by one SovereignGrant each report clearly lists the ways maintenance and improvements were made:

https://www.royal.uk/media-packs

I think people are forgetting that the amount the government use to grant in each in the property grant in aid had to be spent on St James Palace, Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Mews, Clarence House and the Mews at Marlborough House, Kensington Palace (not including those parts managed by Historic Royal Palaces), Hampton Court Mews and Paddocks, Windsor Castle, Windsor Castle Mews, Windsor Home Park and Windsor Great Park. For each of these the grant had to cover (or in part cover):

Utilities - heating, electric, gas
Fire and H&S Services
Upkeep of Gardens
oh and the salaries of over 100 people including craftspeople, H&S officers, maintenance officers in all the major palaces, a central maintenance unit and a central admin office as well as telephone operators.

In addition the Property Grant was also required to be used for some 'communication costs' which included the Court Post Office & The Royal Court switchboards.

I agree that there has been an element of mismanagement but I do truly thing its not for lack of effort on the part of the Household. The problem is when you have a set amount and lots of ongoing costs to pay for where do you get the money from to pay for bigger projects?
 

The 2014 Parliamentary Select committee report reviewed financial arrangements and in so many words trashes the submitted accounts.

They specifically mention the treasury's dereliction of duty in terms of robust financial planning and financial management.

They mention this goes hand in hand with the royal household mismanaging finances year to year and specifically mention the fact that the royal household isn't incentivised to manage the funds they receive.

Saying that the sums given have to stretch to several palaces is to assume the treasury hadn't taken that into consideration when negotiating the money or any top ups requested.

The Parliamentary committee repeatedly mentions the mismanagement and especially the over-spend which is hidden by the frequent dip into the reserve fund is used to pay for the over-spend.

In light of their findings, what is left unsaid is that the submitted accounts are the result of creative accounting where the declared figures fit the official declared grants for those items, meanwhile the extra spend is shoved into reserve fund and since accounting for that isn't public, we only find out about that when it is depleted and HM asks for a top up prompting headlines like ' Queen down to her final million'. And with very few exceptions, we are rarely told how much of a top up she requires and or how much is given.

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

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« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2016, 09:10:13 PM »

 
  Lots of people are not happy with having to pay for the BP the
  upgrades.It will be interesting to see whether the "voice" of
  the people will be heard on this issue too.
 

   "100,000 people sign petition to get Queen to pay for Buckingham Palace renovations."

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2016/1...ns-6270717/#ixzz4Qg7VGD3c 


 "Buckingham Palace: Petition calls on Royal Family to pay for ?369m refit."

 http://www.independent.co...-signatures-a7429536.html

" Queen should 'consider' contributing to ?369m taxpayer-funded Buckingham Palace facelift, says John McDonnell

 http://www.telegraph.co.u...9m-taxpayer-funded-bucki/



 
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Smiley...Knowledge is Power...Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2016, 09:36:07 PM »

Is it very mean to point out that HMs reign might come to an end in forseeable future. She might go on for another two decades but given her age you need to take that option into account. Charles is not the most popular human being and there are still many "I do not forgive what you did to Diana" people out there.

It would be very unwise to wait until he becomes King and let him do all the necessary renovations. Imagine the headlines. "It was good for HM for sixty years and he ...". If he reaches the age of his father something needs to be done while he is king. I think they are looking into the future as well and avoid that Charles and big spendings are somehow connected.
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ronda

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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2016, 10:25:14 PM »


 "If the petition reaches 100,000 it will have to be considered for debate in Parliament."

 "The Queen better brush up on her DIY as more than 80,000 people have now signed a petition to make the Royals foot the ?369 million bill for repairs to Buckingham Palace.
And once the campaign gets 100,000 signatures it must be considered for debate in Parliament."

 http://metro.co.uk/2016/1...closer-to-target-6270091/

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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2016, 03:11:37 PM »

Is it very mean to point out that HMs reign might come to an end in forseeable future. She might go on for another two decades but given her age you need to take that option into account. Charles is not the most popular human being and there are still many "I do not forgive what you did to Diana" people out there.

It would be very unwise to wait until he becomes King and let him do all the necessary renovations. Imagine the headlines. "It was good for HM for sixty years and he ...". If he reaches the age of his father something needs to be done while he is king. I think they are looking into the future as well and avoid that Charles and big spendings are somehow connected.
And he is a notorious spender, as it is. Private harpist on full time staff, etc.
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