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Maya
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« Reply #100 on: November 18, 2016, 04:03:10 pm »

Thanks for posting this fly - the comments on the Guardian and Daily Mail are scathing.

I see that Friday's being the day to bury bad news in PR land still stands.

It really is Her Majesty's Government that is becoming clearer by the day. Definitely not for the people by the people when there are plenty living without a fixed address in the UK I believe £370 million could be much better spent. I see not all are under austerity measures.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/18/buckingham-palace-to-undergo-370m-refurbishment

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3949430/One-s-got-builders-Queen-stay-living-Buckingham-Palace-370m-refurb-ten-years-replace-500-pieces-sanitary-ware.html
« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 04:04:55 pm by Maya » Logged
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« Reply #101 on: November 18, 2016, 06:45:29 pm »

Buckingham Palace will undergo a taxpayer-funded $460 million renovation
http://www.celebitchy.com/512940/buckingham_palace_will_undergo_a_taxpayer-funded_460_million_renovation/

I daresay HM is unaware that she was supposed to have been spending money to maintain this place, but apparently wasn't. Any bets that she's been skivving money sent to her for that purpose, into her own bank accounts?
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« Reply #102 on: November 18, 2016, 07:28:55 pm »

I don't understand why there isn't or wasn't a regular maintenance cost figured in all this time.  Well, I don't understand a lot of this, to be honest.  Are the taxpayers at least allowed free or reduced entrance to the joint?  This seems, on the surface, to be pretty shoddy planning.  Anybody ever done any renovation?  How'd that estimate end up working out for ya?  Yeah, I know.  This will end up costing more than this amount.  Unless they're the first crew in the history of mankind who will never find an unexpected cost-rising surprise. 

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« Reply #103 on: November 18, 2016, 09:43:32 pm »

oh boy - consider what it is costing to repair Houses of Parliament.  And the expense re: both BP and Westminster is in part so big because Parliament has ignored the need to invest in ongoing maintenance.  So I do not blame the RF - it is the Gov that is the problem.

The costs will be spread out over ten years so 46mil USD per year for ten years - which is not that much given the age and size of the building.

consider that the cost of repairing Parliament is some 5.7 BILLION pounds and that the cost of moving MP's out of Parliament while repairs are going on is another 6 BILLION pounds.  Fixing BP looks like a bargain compared to this.

As for the idea that 46 million USD a year would do so much good for poor people in the UK - seriously?  The MP's squander that much on their free alcohol annually.  Frankly - as I see it - the expenses given to MP's are the real scandal.

Consider if BP was allowed to rot and crumble away - it would be a sign of British decline and demoralizing to the British people.  It needs preserving and that costs money.  So - sadly - the money needs spending.

I admit architectural heritage is a thing of mine - and so to me - preserving that heritage is well worth the money.  It is the free alcohol and the other perks that MP's get which offend me.

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« Reply #104 on: November 18, 2016, 10:36:37 pm »

Until 1997 there was an increasing amount of money paid to the Palaces for maintenance. That was keeping up with the basics with some reserved for major maintenance into the future.

Tony Blair - noticing the excess money but not understanding what it was for - froze the amount paid in maintenance at 1997 levels and the reserve was used up by 2002 just doing the basics but there was no increase in the money for the basics until 2012.

The costs of the basics had grown way beyond the 1997 levels by 2012 and the reserves for major maintenance had been used up as well. There have been reports since at least 2002 that major works were being put off as the money was only covering essential maintenance and even by 2007 they weren't even having enough money to do that.

Now they are faced with a massive bill that could have been much lower had Blair and his government simply maintained the increasing amount in 1997 instead of freezing it - saving made from 1997 - 2012 in the end weren't savings at all.

BP has not had a major refurbishment since 1947 when it was redone after WWII.

The Queen has been using the money she has been given for maintaining the palaces - and the accounts are a matter of public record - but the money hasn't been enough.

They are really faced with three options:

1) a 10 year project to bring the palace into the 21st century instead of being in the mid-20th century but still operating as a home and office for the monarchy
2) move out and do the work over a 2 - 3 year period but with the massive costs of hiring office space for the office of the Head of State and not have said Head of State living in London at all
3) let it fall down - which I suspect a lot of republicans would like to see happen

To bring it into the 21st century is going to cost millions - if not billions - just like the Palace of Westminster. Blair's 'false savings' are now costing the next generation a lot more.
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« Reply #105 on: November 19, 2016, 01:04:47 am »

Thanks everyone for the info.  It's still quite confounding that an historical monument of this importance would be left without constant structural and regular, infrastructure and wiring/plumbing update all these years.  It may not have been updated or done over since 1947 but there are a lot of years between 1947 and Blair so Blair, as unpopular as I know he is, is not entirely at fault here.

The fact that it's spread out over 10 years also does not allow for the maintenance repair work that will need to be done just because there's also 10 years of wear and tear on the thing.

Really bad planning or little care; I can't figure that out.  I just hope that there is some long-term plan in place to keep the building in good condition moving forward.  Doesn't England have a historic sites fund that takes care of this and the other sites as well?  What happens to the admission fees to see at least some of Buckingham Palace? 

The White House (not that it's size-wise comparable), for instance, is constantly maintained and there is a yearly budget for it (it's not much $1 1/2 M/year or so) that does come out of our tax dollars but there are non-profit organizations all over the place (Hello, DAR!) who take on separate parts of keeping all of our historic buildings in good working order.  It's very rewarding for those I know who work as fundraisers or volunteers for these events and initiatives.  Just those who work on keeping the chandeliers in perfect condition love it.  Or the furniture committees, since Jackie O did the remodel in the most perfect way, find it a lifetime of joy.  And it's free to visit the White House for everybody on earth.

It should be noted, however, the each President and their family pay for their own food, furniture, moving expenses and any and all personal needs, including even the laundering of their own clothing.  The only things we cover are State occasions.  I'm not sure many people know that.  When any Prez wants to change something, add a pool, put in a bowling alley, they pay for it out of their own pocket and return it to its original condition when they leave unless the next Prez wants it.

So, it wouldn't be that crazy for Kate or any other royal to take on at least starting an organization to keep the artwork in good condition, cleaning, frame work, tours, etc.  It would be a perfect fit for her and save the tax payers something and be excellent PR when this doesn't have great media presence during a time of austerity.  I'm dreaming, I know, but what a wonderful thing to do.
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« Reply #106 on: November 19, 2016, 01:20:13 am »

I'm really disgusted at how HM has let it fall to pieces, much like how she's let her dynasty fall apart. Thing is, that this should have been dealt with a long time ago and I think HM has been skimming off of the money sent to her for the upkeep of the palace. I am certain that Something has gone all shady with that family mainly since there hasn't been a single audit. I said this a million times, that this family is skimming and neglecting the palace.

As for the President of the US, considering the power and work he has to deal with, it's entirely different. Everything is audited and the First Family bring their own already established wardrobes and basically believe that it's not the taxpayer's job to outfit them in Chanel. I am certain that the US taxpayer does not have to pay for relatives, multiple estates, and first class flights to all over the planet.

I truly do believe that if an audit were in fact conducted, there would be rioting in the streets.
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« Reply #107 on: November 19, 2016, 01:25:06 am »

^^The Royal Collection of artworks and artefacts etc at Windsor Castle, BP, and Holyrioodhouse in Scotland is already under the care, maintenance and conservation of the Royal Collection Trust. This is a registered charity. It's income comes from the public opening of Windsor Castle, Holyroodhouse and BP, and from its trading activities. It also supports loans and tours and educational projects. It doesn't take a penny from the Sovereign Grant or from taxpayers, apart from those entrance fees of course!

https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/about/frequently-asked-questions

^ The Sovereign Grant, money for which maintains the Palaces, is audited regularly. The reports are presented to Parliament and every penny has to be accounted for.
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« Reply #108 on: November 19, 2016, 01:28:49 am »

^Great, but why haven't they done anything to avoid this huge expense?  There's no excuse for this, really.  And since there is the Royal Collection Trust and if they're hurting for money to dump into infrastructure, that would be a perfect place for our Kate.  Or Sophie and Kate.  Or the York Sisters.  It can't be ALL take, take, take.  Or maybe it can.  I don't know.
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« Reply #109 on: November 19, 2016, 01:39:19 am »

Actually, if Sophie and Kate did work with the trusts, that would be a perfect way for them to fill their time. Sophie isn't all that much when it comes to appearances and it's not like she's a force to be reckoned with. The minor royals would be perfect to do these things and it would be best to have the Yorkies work on that as well. I am certain that it would be great since it would allow them to contribute in a practical way.

If the entire RF had apartments there and kept their offices there, I am certain that the entire issue of housing and security would be over. I understand about KP and about needing offices in Buckingham Palace, but they do NOT need St. James and they do not need all those numerous country estates. IF I had my way, I would order the RF to move to Buckingham Palace or KP as a London residence and Sandringham/Balmoral as their country residence. Charles does not need Highgrove or any of the other places and if they want to be on the taxpayer teet, they can't have 'private' estates with royal protection. I thought the BRF was supposed to be tight knit and on the same side. As for the Duchies, Charles can have Cornwall, but that should be it and the rest of them on a comfortable stipend and protected, but the rest must be earned. These palaces are vast enough and they shouldn't have a flat in London of their own while indulging in apartments at St. James.

^^The Royal Collection of artworks and artefacts etc at Windsor Castle, BP, and Holyrioodhouse in Scotland is already under the care, maintenance and conservation of the Royal Collection Trust. This is a registered charity. It's income comes from the public opening of Windsor Castle, Holyroodhouse and BP, and from its trading activities. It also supports loans and tours and educational projects. It doesn't take a penny from the Sovereign Grant or from taxpayers, apart from those entrance fees of course!
https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/about/frequently-asked-questions
^ The Sovereign Grant, money for which maintains the Palaces, is audited regularly. The reports are presented to Parliament and every penny has to be accounted for.

Really, then why are the palaces in such disrepair? Buckingham Palace is in pieces and oddly, the RF gets money to maintain these places, but for some strange reason the palaces are in pieces. So yes, there is something shady going on and one way or another taxpayers are paying.
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« Reply #110 on: November 19, 2016, 04:12:14 am »

16^s

This is the latest Report and Accounts of the Sovereign Grant, which was presented to Parliament as it was required to be, in the summer of 2016. It covers the costs for the previous twelve months, including the repairs and maintenance of the royal residences.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/532342/FINAL_Royal_Household_Annual_Report_2015-16.pdf
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« Reply #111 on: November 19, 2016, 04:23:54 am »

I think again - this is not to be blamed on the Queen - it is clearly the fault of Parliament and short sightedness.  It really is unfair to dump this on the BRF.

I do think the notion of a foundation to care for the palaces is a great idea but we have to remember that the tradition of voluntary associations is much stronger in the US than the UK.



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« Reply #112 on: November 19, 2016, 06:38:12 am »

They were doing regular maintenance but knew, like any householder does, that 'big maintenance' is also needed at times and has to be saved for.

That is what they were doing when Blair came along in 1997 and decided that the reserves could be used for the regular stuff rather than be kept for the future major needs and so run down the reserves to nothing. By 2002 the reserves were gone and the maintenance budget was no longer enough for the day to day, year by year maintenance let along the once in a generation maintenance that had been the target of the reserves but now there is nothing there for those events.

Another reason for this problem is the Queen's longevity. Had she died say 20 years ago then a major refurbishment would have happened when Charles ascended with another one in about 20 more years for William - as happened in the past with major maintenance happening in 1901, 1911, 1936-7 which wasn't finished due to the war and so was done 1947 - 1952. Since then the major refurbishment hasn't happened but the ongoing regular maintenance has been happening.
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« Reply #113 on: November 19, 2016, 11:19:24 am »

Thanks for all the information everybody who knows better than I do!  Again.  It's true that it is a different culture between the US volunteer and fundraising mindset but your input helps me understand things so much easier.  It's always an education for me here and I appreciate it.
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« Reply #114 on: November 19, 2016, 11:15:09 pm »

I wonder why things are not so straightforward; HM is Sovereign, therefore it should be a  focus of hers to make sure that the palaces are maintained. That should be the end of it and HM has had money given to her over the years to see to the upkeep of Buckingham Palace. If she and her family can live in a small handful of rooms that are sparsely decorated, her family can all live in one palace in a handful of rooms and scale back their standards. For some reason (I do not know) HM and Co. stubbornly hold on to so many vast estates that have numerous houses (mansions really) located on the grounds, but don't' really use the rooms. The Throne room has been used only once and sits vacant, but for some reason, HM won't open the room to the public and it just sits there unused.

If HM can do with a handful of small, badly heated rooms, she has no business asking for more money to maintain a palace that has apparently been neglected to the point where it is falling apart. She's showing herself to be useless. Meanwhile, she wants to take money from the heating fund set aside for the poor. So frankly, someone is scamming money and pocketing it when its' supposed to go somewhere else.

Another reason for this problem is the Queen's longevity. Had she died say 20 years ago then a major refurbishment would have happened when Charles ascended with another one in about 20 more years for William - as happened in the past with major maintenance happening in 1901, 1911, 1936-7 which wasn't finished due to the war and so was done 1947 - 1952. Since then the major refurbishment hasn't happened but the ongoing regular maintenance has been happening.

Actually, the reason is HM's neglect of her responsibilities, or her refusal to delegate the restoration work to a member of the RF, like Edward or some other minor royal with time on their hands. It would be in fact great for the Yorkies who whine about wanting to have an official role. If the Yorkies and Edward/Sophie were put in charge of overseeing restorations and worked with other minor royals, I am certain that it would be the best possible role. HM has for some reason focused on grubbing for money and preserving her legacy instead of focusing on the day to day realities of her work. Instead of messing with showgirls, Philip could have been seeing to the day to day upkeep of the palaces, seeing to it that there is always a team working on what needs to be done. Chrissakes, a ton of minor royals could contribute their time and energy.

Just think, if William and Harry had in fact been tasked with this, they would have spent their time much better.

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« Reply #115 on: December 09, 2016, 11:01:53 pm »

How WILL Harry cope? Buckingham Palace rolls out no-smoking policy at royal residences including Kensington Palace

    Buckingham Palace did, until recently, permit smoking in designated areas
    Officials in the Master of the Household’s department put a stop to smoking
    E-cigarettes will be permitted in the designated areas until May 21 next year


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4018788/Buckingham-Palace-rolls-no-smoking-policy-royal-residences-including-Kensington-Palace.html
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