The Queen has been awarded a whopping 66% pay rise to fund a £369m 10-year refit of Buckingham Palace, after the government agreed that an increase of the sovereign grant was the best way of paying for the urgent repairs of Buckingham Palace.
Officials have warned if the urgent repairs aren’t done, there was a risk of a potential “catastrophic building failure”.
But Labour and SNP MPs have questioned why the Royal Family is getting such a pay rise at a time of austerity.
Labour MP Alex Cunningham, said that the plans of funding the repairs should not be financed by taxpayers’ money:
“I have always respected the fact that we have a royal family, but I know they also have vast wealth and I don’t know what sort of contributions they will be making towards this project,”
Cunningham is right: the Royal Family fortune is estimated at £7bn whilst the Queen’s personal wealth is estimated at £300m.
According to Graham Smith, chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic, the Royals also receive over £334m a year of taxpayer’s money to finance their lavish lifestyle.
Smith said that MPs have repeatedly called on the Palace to fund the repairs by opening up to tourists all-year-round, but the Queen has refused. Smith stated:
“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.”
SNP MP Hannah Bardell pointed out that it was incredible that Theresa May’s government was ready to spend such large sum on Buckingham Palace while seeking to cut the number of Scotland’s MPs from 59 to 53 to save money.
“The irony is just today the Tory government was debating whether to cut the number of elected representatives in a cost-saving measure. While steps should be taken to maintain and restore such buildings, I’m sure many will find it hard to grasp the millions available to restore Buckingham Palace when Tory cuts are leaving the poorest in our society to suffer.”
Royals: Benefits scroungers?
In a country where one in every four children live in poverty, the government’s decision to spend more money on a rich privileged family so they can undergo an ultimate home makeover is pretty scandalous.
Of course, it is important that the government protect our historic building and national heritage, but if it is for a rich family to enjoy it, the British taxpayers should not foot the bill.
And thousands of her Majesty the Queen’s subjects think that they should not pay the bill and have signed a petition to stop funding the “ultimate home makeover” of the Queen’s pad.
Within hours, more than 20,000 signed the petition at the time of publishing.
Mark Johnson, who set up the petition, said:
“There is a national housing crisis, the NHS is in crisis, austerity is forcing cuts in many front line services. Now the Royals expect us to dig deeper to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The Crown’s wealth is inestimable. This is, in a word, outrageous.”
The NHS is collapsing, councils are decimating all services to stave off bankruptcy, our streets are filled with homeless youngsters and thousands of families eat from food banks.
And yet, one of the richest family in Britain feels comfortable with us paying for the renovation of their house.
They may call themselves kings, queens, princes or princesses, but they live on Benefits Street and yet it’s heresy to call them scroungers.