Petition demands Royal Family pay £369m Buckingham Palace repairs themselves

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Saturday 19 November 2016 10:45
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Picture:(38 Degrees)

As the news broke that Buckingham Palace was going to receive a £369m facelift, click activists on campaigning website 38 degrees leapt into action.

A petition calling for the Royal Family and the Crown Estate to fund the repair work planned for their London residence has already received over 23,000 signatures since it was created on Friday evening - and is rising by the minute.

Mark Johnson, the creator of the petition, explained:

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 exact wording of the petition, which is directed towards the Chancellor of the Exhequer Philip Hammond reads:

Make Royals Pay for Palace Renovation. Buckingham Palace is about to be given a £369m refurbishment. Tax payers are paying for it. The Crown and its estates should be made to fund its own renovations.

The work being done at Buckingham Palace has been deemed 'necessary', and will include replacing miles of piping, wiring, and thousands of plug sockets in the Regency-era palace.

The refurbishment will take 10 years, and is intended to make the palace functional until at least 2067.

Outrage about the bill, has not been limited to 38 degrees petitioners. Opposition MPs and some newspapers have also baulked at the size of the figure.

Yet the petition is misleading. It calls for the repairs to be funded through the Crown Estates.

And that is exactly the organisation that is funding the repairs.

The money is coming from the 'Sovereign Support Grant', which replaced the Civil List in 2013.

This grant is currently funded by 15 per cent of the revenue of the Crown Estate.

The Crown Estate manages the assets of the monarchy. These are not personally owned by the reigning Queen (or King), and cannot be sold.

For the duration of the repairs, the trustees of the Crown Estate, as well as Theresa May, Phillip Hammond, and the Keeper of the Privy Purse recommended that 25 per cent of the Crown Estate's revenue be put into the Sovereign Support Grant.

While the £369m constitutes a 66 per cent increase in the size of the Sovereign Support Grant, it's only 10 per cent more of the Crown Estate's revenue that will be diverted to the repairs.

The assets which generate revenue for the Crown Estate are mostly land holdings, and some investments.

In addition, all of the profits of the Crown Estate are given to the Treasury to finance public spending.

As such, it's incorrect to suggest that the Crown Estate is not already paying for the repairs.

However HM Treasury will receive a smaller proportion of profits from the Crown Esate while the repairs take place. Money which could be spent elsewhere.

HT Metro

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