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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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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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Brian Workman January 28 2014 at 1:54 PM

I hope that they have better "LUCK" than we're now having with our Leader's!!

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jmich January 28 2014 at 12:47 PM

Calm down folks -- I was recently in Great Britian and found out the monarchy cost each British citizen about one pound a year. And they like their monochary, primary because it brings in untold amounts of tourist dollars each and every year. A good gig. Don't you wish the good ole US of A could pull that off?

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3 replies
jay love January 28 2014 at 4:12 PM

who are all these "Chirppers" who don't seem to know so much about Englands Royal family, what its worth, what it brings to the table, so forth and so on! these same ones would probably suggest we are getting some kind of bargain here with Barack and Muchelle O'Belle with all their doings and goings?

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lidodex January 28 2014 at 4:59 PM

These stories of the British royal family's financial woes always make me cringe. Okay, we Americans especially have to just get past the fact that this monarchy still exists to support a few enormously wealthy and privileged people who seem, to us, to do little to earn their keep and place at the top of the social class ladder. Having traveled extensively around the UK, the truth is that the royals really do generate an INCREDIBLE amount of money in tourism to Britain. Take a trip to London alone and you'll see what I mean: the packed airplanes, the sold out hotels, the crammed stores and restaurants, the souvenir shops and tours to royal palaces, homes and museums, all year round--all on account of the history of the monarchy and all of it bringing in billions upon billions of pounds to the British economy each and every year, which in turn creates thousands upon thousands of jobs and tax revenues to help fill their Treasury. To me this seems to be far less of a case of not enough income being generated (and of course they could always be doing more), but much more of a case of mismanagement of the substantial income that they have. They need someone, or a team of people, put in charge to get better control of royal finances and stop money from being spent well but not wisely.

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1 reply
latache61 lidodex January 28 2014 at 9:28 PM


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ourleads January 28 2014 at 12:53 PM

Congress needs to deliver the same message to our "king".

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4 replies
tomwa007 January 28 2014 at 12:57 PM

Let me manage the Queen's budget. We'll all prosper

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weyel11 January 28 2014 at 12:58 PM

A lot less than one week in Afghaniastan, and what do WE get??????

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boyle1034 January 28 2014 at 12:59 PM

It could all be a lot of Hodge Podge as far as I can see.

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MAXDEWINTER January 28 2014 at 5:22 PM

holly cow! i thought i had problems!

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