Friday 15 December 2017

UK taxpayer to foot £370m bill for Buckingham Palace revamp

Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA
Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA

Gordon Rayner in London

Queen Elizabeth is to be given £369m (€430m) of taxpayers' money to carry out a 10-year refit of Buckingham Palace.

The cash for the monarch has been approved by British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond, and is expected to be rubber-stamped by parliament in the next six months.

The move is likely to prove controversial, coming at a time when public sector services are facing cuts and pay freezes due to Government's austerity drive.

Surveyors said that unless urgent work was carried out to replace ancient cabling, plumbing and other services, there was a serious danger of "potentially catastrophic building failure" in years to come.

The work will include replacing 160km of electrical cabling - much of it 60 years old - 50km of water pipes, 6,500 electrical sockets, 5,000 light fittings, 2,500 radiators and 500 pieces of sanitaryware.

It will also involve lifting 30,000sq m of floorboards, the equivalent of three and a half football pitches.

The queen, Prince Philip and other members of the royal family will remain in residence while the work is carried out between 2017 and 2027, but temporary accommodation will be built in the gardens of the palace for some of the 37 staff who live there.

The queen will, however, have to move out of her apartments for a period when they come to be refitted.

Each of the palace's four wings will be refitted one at a time, starting with the East Wing - the front of the Palace - enabling the building to remain fully operational at all times.

Solar panels will be fitted to the roof of the palace to reduce bills long term, which will contribute to a projected £3.4m (€3.96m) per year reduction in the cost of the palace to the public purse.

A palace spokesman said: "Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, This will extend its working life by a further 50 years." (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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