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UK lawmakers tell the queen to cut costs, boost income

Queen 'Not Served Well by Treasury'

LONDON (AP) - Britain's royal household needs to get a little more entrepreneurial, eye possible staff cuts and replace an ancient palace boiler, lawmakers say in a new report.

The report published Tuesday on the finances of Queen Elizabeth II has exposed crumbling palaces and depleted coffers, and discovered that a royal reserve fund for emergencies is down to its last million pounds ($1.6 million).

Legislators on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee urged royal officials to adopt a more commercial approach and suggested opening up Buckingham Palace to visitors more often.

The committee said the royal household needed more cash to address a serious maintenance backlog on crumbling palaces. It said at least 39 percent of royal buildings - and probably more - were in an unacceptable state, "with some properties in a dangerous or deteriorating condition."

"The boiler in Buckingham Palace is 60 years old," committee chair Margaret Hodge told the BBC. "The household must get a much firmer grip on how it plans to address its maintenance backlog."

In words that have become familiar to Britons during five years of austerity, Hodge urged the royals "to do more with less."

The report pointed out that the royal household's staff has remained largely static at just over 430 people in the last seven years, a period that has seen deep cuts to public spending and thousands of civil service layoffs.

Hodge, a Labour Party lawmaker, said Buckingham Palace was only open to the public 78 days a year, drawing half a million visitors, and suggested that boosting visitor numbers could help raise funds.

"We think a little bit of a more commercial approach by those who are responsible for serving the queen would serve her better in garnering more income," Hodge said.

The queen received 31 million pounds ($51 million) from taxpayers in 2012-2013, but Hodge said the monarch "has not been served well by the household and by the Treasury," which is responsible for overseeing royal costs.

The report said because of overspending, the royal Reserve Fund had shrunk from 3.3 million pounds to 1 million pounds in 2012-2013, a historic low that raised fears "it could be unable to cover its expenditure on any unforeseen events."

Buckingham Palace said in a statement it had boosted its income by almost 5 million pounds between 2007 and 2013, and "work on income generation continues." It said it was working to carry out essential maintenance and had recently removed asbestos from the basement of Buckingham Palace.

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Sandy January 28 2014 at 1:03 PM

Americans can hardly criticize G.B. - we have made the Kardashians into millionaires.

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A SMARTBARE January 28 2014 at 8:29 PM

Lets just get the Queen a job. Wallmarts is alway looking for help.

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1 reply
J E KOLASH A SMARTBARE January 28 2014 at 8:59 PM

A greeter maybe?

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lizgonzales8186 January 28 2014 at 8:34 PM

The queen received $51 million from the taxpayers in just a year?! Whoa! And she doesn't even do anything yet she is paid to be a figurehead from some long ago time and age. If I were British I would be PO'd and tell her to pay for the upkeep of her own palaces.

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2 replies
Furby lizgonzales8186 January 28 2014 at 10:06 PM

This is not a very bright post. The Queen does, in fact, do quite a lot. A little research into what she actually does for the country would benefit you BEFORE you post things that make little sense. In addition, she DOES pay for her own palaces out of her allowance she earns. Buckingham palace BELONGS TO THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, not the Queen herself. Therefor, the PEOPLE should be responsible for the upkeep. Nobody asks the president to pay for repairs to the White House...

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Group lizgonzales8186 January 29 2014 at 1:41 AM

I agree. All that money and they don't even pay rent. Should take some of that money and get plastic surgery. All but William and Harry are bug ugly

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shirlgr123 January 28 2014 at 8:39 PM

What about dipping in there own bank accounts for some repairs instead of expecting the tax payers to pay it all. They have enough of there own. Bulldoze some of them down or sell them. You can only live in one place at a time and when you're not there it'd be cheaper to stay in a hotel when you go away. If not stay with relatives for a visit like ordinary folks have to.
The boiler is 60 years old You say, well all I can say is they had there money's worth from it. A new one will never last that long

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1 reply
Isatie shirlgr123 January 28 2014 at 9:48 PM

I myself do not like all this spending of the PEOPLES money..It belongs to the PEOPLE...It is not yours or your children. Understand? Or do I have to repeat myself?? OK you got IT.
NOW...the next question....So what are you going to do? Just as I thought.......NOTHING.
Just like always....NOTHING.
So when you have NOTHING ....what happens? The answer........NOTHING....You are back from where we started...
So I am not trying to be SMART...all I want you to do is be like us.....THINK....Life is not a bowl of cherries..


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verde33333 January 28 2014 at 8:45 PM

Royals have been living off the peoples money for centuries while their own people starve. They take money the people could be using for food and hire servants with it instead to bring "them "their food and wait on them. Where their is a King and Queen their will always be peasants, hopefully while we are evolving faster now these days these things can be corrected................

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criterion29 January 28 2014 at 8:53 PM

at 51 mil she is not rich at all, its like you try to live in Broocklyn on 2 Gs /month.

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2 replies
gracecampbell59 criterion29 January 28 2014 at 9:47 PM

LOL :)

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Group criterion29 January 29 2014 at 1:37 AM

She's not in Brooklyn idiot

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Carolyn January 28 2014 at 1:39 PM

I think England is sort of like Disney Land. Liz and Phil are Mickey and Minny. The other royals are supporting cast. They live in Fanasy Land, supported by the Brit taxpayer who get exactly what they deserve. Charles is an idiot who thinks he is an architect. They are all irrevelant. I once made a survey of Brits I came in contact with in England by asking what effect the royals had on everyday life of the common man. The answer was none. But it wouldn't be the same without the Battenbergs--Oh, excuse me--the Windsors.

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Iamnot1ofurfans January 28 2014 at 1:46 PM

what a suprise, they spend too much and dont bring enough in to support their rediculously lavish life. They are spoiled and think they are entitled to this free ride. If i spend more than i bring in, I have no one to help me. They just dig deeper into their subjects pockets without any regard for anyone else.

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1 reply
shepfbm Iamnot1ofurfans January 28 2014 at 1:52 PM

sounds like Obama has learned how to be royal

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frieda406 January 28 2014 at 1:46 PM

Get some of the deadbeat relatives off the payroll.

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1 reply
Penderosa frieda406 January 28 2014 at 1:57 PM

They're all deadbeats.

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criterion29 January 28 2014 at 9:01 PM

i wonder, if she shows up at the House of Lords in a jeans and T shirt, the media would have a field day.

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1 reply
silverfawn criterion29 January 28 2014 at 9:47 PM

I highly doubt the queen even has such items as jeans and a t shirt in her wardrobe. For that matter, I'd bet she has never worn that particular ensemble in her life. Too bad- it's quite comfy and easy to move in. (Smile)

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1 reply
criterion29 silverfawn January 28 2014 at 11:18 PM

you might be supprised what she may have in her closet .

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