U.K. taxpayers have received a shock, with lawmakers revealing the full extent of the costs involved to refurbish the poor condition of the Queen's residences.
Alan Reid, the keeper of the privy purse and the treasurer to the Queen was grilled by politicians in a House of Commons committee hearing and admitted that 39 percent of the royal estate was below "target condition". The public bill could be in the region of £50 million ($80 million).
"It would be a good indication," Reid told the Public Accounts Committee. "Initial work has been done to make it dry and safe."
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Gritty details of the poor state some of the Queen's palaces were laid bare with repairs not made to Buckingham Place for sixty years. Rain water leaks into the Queen's picture gallery, it was said. It also pointed to cracked lead slates in the roofing and crumbling walls. The "antiquated" heating systems are over 60 years old, the electrical wiring has not updated since 1949 and £800,000 needs to be spent on removing asbestos.
The Queen's sovereign grant - the amount of taxpayer money provided by the Government to the Royal Household in support of The Queen's official duties - will increase in the next few years to pay for these repairs.
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In the last tax year the grant stood at £31 million. This will increase to £36.1 million this year, and then £37.9 million in 2014/2015 - a 22 percent rise in three years. Around half the amount of money from these increases will go towards the refurbishment, Reid said, indicating that in ten years' time "major inroads" could be made with the work needed.