And finally…£150m Buck House refurb could see Queen moved out



Buckingham Palace

It’s not just the UK’s elected officials that apparently need to be rehoused, now the Queen may have to move out of Buckingham Palace during much-needed renovations to the residence, which has not been substantially redecorated since she took the throne in 1952, royal officials said today.

The news comes as it emerged that Scotland could cut its contribution to the British monarchy by over £1million if plans for further devolution get the go-ahead.

The Royal Family could expect an annual cut of between £1 million and £1.5million if profits from the Crown Estate in Scotland are retained by the Scottish Parliament rather than the UK Parliament in a year’s time.

Meanwhile, officials say Buckingham Palace needs an estimated £150 million of renovation and upgrades, including replacing old plumbing and wiring and removing asbestos. Having her move out during the work is one option being considered.

The Queen has several other residences but spends about a third of her time in the London palace, which was first used by her ancestor Queen Victoria. It is the site of summer garden parties and scores of ceremonial events each year.

Keeper of the Privy Purse Alan Reid said maintenance on aging royal buildings, “and in particular Buckingham Palace, will present a significant financial challenge” in the next few years.

Annual accounts published Wednesday showed that the monarchy costs taxpayers £35.7m in the year to March 31, the equivalent of 56 pence per person. That was unchanged from the year before.

Almost half the money, £18.7m, was spent on payroll costs, while property maintenance cost £11.7m and £5.1m was spent on official travel. The most expensive trip was an eight-day visit to Colombia and Mexico by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, which cost almost £450,000.