Royals spend £800,000 of taxpayer money to fix up staircase in Buckingham Palace

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The Grand Staircase at Buckingham Palace has had £800,000 of taxpayers money spent on it. (Getty)
The Grand Staircase at Buckingham Palace has had £800,000 of taxpayers money spent on it. (Getty)

The Royal Family has spent £800,000 of taxpayers’ money in fixing up the Grand Staircase at Buckingham Palace, figures show.

Royal accounts published on Thursday show that £600,000 has been spent in the past year on the renovations, bringing the total figure so far to £800,000.

The monarchy’s taxpayer-funded spending came to £102.4 million during 2021/22 – an increase of £14.9m, or 17%, on the previous financial year.

The increase comes amid a growing cost of living crisis, with rising fuel, energy and food bills hitting pay packets across the country.

Buckingham Palace’s electrical cabling, plumbing and heating had not been updated since the 1950s and was found to be in urgent need of an overhaul to avoid “the very real danger of catastrophic failure leading to fire or flood and incalculable damage to the building and priceless works of art in the Royal Collection”.

A phased programme of works began in 2017, paid for by the taxpayer.

Building work takes place on the Grand Staircase at Buckingham Palace in London, part of the 10-year refurbishment programme for the royal residence. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Building work takes place on the Grand Staircase at Buckingham Palace in June 2021 as part of the 10-year refurbishment programme for the royal residence. (PA/Getty)

As a result, property maintenance soared by £14.4m to £63.9m, as the 10-year project to renovate Buckingham Palace continued.

Official royal travel amounted to £4.5m, housekeeping and hospitality to £1.3m, utilities £3.2m and payroll costs £23.7m.

The Royal Family is “extremely conscious” of the cost of living crisis affecting the nation, with the Prince of Wales paying very close attention to the matter, according to a royal source.

Watch: Starmer reiterates call for emergency budget to tackle cost of living crisis

Charles has spent time with farmers “sitting around the farmhouse table” discussing the challenges while visiting Duchy districts to work out ways to help them, the source said.

“He wants to hear from them, what is their lived experience, so we can see what we can do to try to help them, support them along the way because to roll the question into a wider point about the living crisis, the family are extremely conscious of this – the Prince of Wales is paying very close attention to this indeed,” the source added.

But campaign group Republic blasted the figures, with chief executive Graham Smith saying: “As always, while the rest of us face a cost-of-living crisis and continued squeezes on public services, the royals walk off with hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”

He added: “We need to put the monarchy on a proper budgetary footing, just like any other public body. We need to slash that budget down to below £10m, and only fund what’s required for the functions of the head of state.”

Prince Charles is said to be paying very close attention to the cost of living crisis. (Getty)
Prince Charles is said to be paying very close attention to the cost of living crisis. (Getty)

The group questioned whether the money spent on the royal family is “an ethical use of public money”.

They tweeted: “Can this expenditure be justified? Can we get a head of state that costs less than this, so we can spend that money elsewhere?

“Why is the monarchy not facing significant cuts, while essential public services have been cut time and again over the past decade?

“Is this an ethical use of public money? What else could we afford for that amount?”

The royal household has made efficiencies have including a pay freeze and a recruitment freeze, with a close eye being kept on energy use, ahead of the expected rise in energy costs.

London, UK - May 3th, 2011: Warm dawn sunlight illuminated the Portland stone facade, windows, balcony and ornate entrance gates of Buckingham Palace, London residence of the British Monarch, from the Victoria Memorial on The Mall.
Buckingham Palace is undergoing major renovations that are due to end in 2027. (Getty)

A royal source said: “It goes without saying, in terms of the environmental credentials, that not only are we looking at consumption, but also we have an eye on – in terms of the cost of living – one of the big increases that is coming and is happening now is utilities.

“So we’re looking very much at how we can be innovative in reducing consumption and consequentially as a by-product reducing costs as well to ensure that we can live within and operate within the funding envelope that we are anticipating.”

The cost of living crisis has seen household finances fail to keep up with soaring inflation once again at the start of the year, marking the first time real disposable income has fallen for four quarters in a row since records began, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said real household disposable income dropped 0.2% between January and March as income growth of 1.5% was outstripped by household inflation of 1.7%.

Household finances have now been under pressure for a straight year, with rising prices amid the cost-of-living crisis meaning income after inflation has fallen for a record four consecutive quarters.

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