A king’s ransom: are royal repairs justified?

YES

Amanda Yap

To date, the refurbishment of the 313-year-old Buckingham Palace is currently in the works. Setting aside the fight on whether the Royal Family should be the one footing the bill at a time where the UK Government is looking at budget cuts, why should the need for refurbishments come now?   

Firstly, refurbishments are necessary for the building’s safety. The 313-year-old building has not had proper renovations since 1952, and it is showing signs of wear and tear – and there is an urgent need for plumbing and upgrading of wiring.

What is most worrying is the amount of harmful asbestos fibres that comes from the building’s foundation which can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma when inhaled. If not for the Queen, think about the hundreds of civilians from chefs and footmen to electricians and cleaners who enter and work in the palace each day. It is their right to have a secure place to work in, and I feel that this is a good enough reason to hasten the palace refurbishments.

Refurbishments are necessary for the building’s safety

Or, think about the diplomats from around the world who enter the palace gates everyday. throughout the year, some 50000 guests from all walks of life are invited to the palace to attend banquets and garden parties.

We should note, too, that the Royal Family does not own Buckingham Palace; the palace belongs to the British public. The Queen, as monarch, enjoys stewardship – not ownership. It’s important to remember, then, that Buckingham Palace – as with all occupied royal residences around the United Kingdom – is held in trust for the nation. The cost of repairs, therefore, fall on the state.

The palace is also a heritage site, housing parts of the Royal Collection and the biggest European royal art collection in the world.

The Royal Family does not own Buckingham Palace; the palace belongs to the British public

We often reminisce of time passed. If we are not sincere or enthusiastic about keeping tradition alive, we should not complain when there’s no more heritage architecture, while being surrounded by glittering skyscrapers.

After all, the British royal residences like Buckingham Palace are what makes England, England.

NO

Benjamin Eckford

The decision that the taxpayers will have to fund the £369m renovation of Buckingham Palace is a national disgrace.

After six years of crushing austerity, during which time social housing has been haemorrhaged and homelessness has skyrocketed, it is absurd that now workers, including those on zero-hours contracts or the minimum wage, are expected to pay taxes to subsidise the largest council house in the country.

Workers… are expected to pay taxes to subsidise the largest council house in the country

If the palace belonged to the people, as I believe it rightfully should, then it could be a museum, open to tourists, turning a profit for the taxpayers. Instead, it is the private residence of one of the wealthiest families on the planet.

I have often criticised the royals for living in their own little bubble and for their selfishness, but this is the most galling example I have seen. Whilst their own people live in homelessness on the streets and depend on food banks simply not to starve, they refuse to contribute a single penny to the upkeep of their own private residence.

Royal funding by the taxpayers increased by 29% from 2012 to 2015, according to the Daily Express

It is unsurprising from this Conservative government that they continue to protect the royals at the expense of hardworking British taxpayers. While our public services are slashed and privatised, royal funding by the taxpayers increased by 29% from 2012 to 2015, according to the Daily Express.

We all agree that Buckingham Palace is a historically significant building that must be preserved so that future generations can see it. However, the Windsor family are the ones with the money, and they live there. They should pay for it.

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