Over 120,000 people have signed a petition demanding the royal family pay the £369 million repair bill for Buckingham Palace out of their own pockets.
The petition, which refers to the recent decision by the Government to increase the payment allocated to the Royal Family to cover the cost of repairing Buckingham Palace, has gained major traction over the last couple days.
Mark Johnson, who set up the petition, said:
I’m all for protecting Buckingham Palace, but at a time when the public purse is so pressured?
On a day that temperatures dropped overnight, when the elderly are freezing in their homes and children have damp mould on their bedroom walls, to fund it publicly is something out of a Charles Dickens novel.
It’s up to the royal household how they fund it privately, I don’t think it will be hard to find the money, not as hard as it would be for the NHS to fund.
But while many are claiming the Royals have a take-and-don’t-give approach, there seems to be confusion, or a lack of understanding, over how much the Queen has actually paid into the government.
First of all, Buckingham Palace isn’t actually owned by the Queen. It’s the property of the Crown Estate and is required to give all of its revenue to the Treasury.
Although the Monarch is allowed to live in the Palace, they also have to host hundreds of state functions every year. As the Huffington Post reports, the Monarch has been used by the Government as part of its strategy of ‘soft diplomacy’ when looking to woo foreign leaders.
Secondly, through the Crown Estate’s contributions to Government revenue, it has already paid for the renovation many times over. According to the Huffington Post, that number is exactly six times in the last 10 years, having paid £2.4 billion to the Treasury over that period.
This has gone towards paying for the NHS, schools, and emergency services – and in the last year alone, they handed over £304.1 million to the Exchequer.
The Monarch does get some of this money back from the Crown Estate profits, but this has been set at 15 per cent by way of the Sovereign Grant. Basically, that’s equivalent to us handing over 85 per cent of our income in taxes.
Buckingham Palace, which has had no major renovation works since the Second World War, is also a fantastic British building that needs to be preserved for future generations – and Governments – to reap its benefits.
Let’s look over the facts before we sign any petitions.