The Queen’s officials spent more than £1.5million of taxpayers’ money on cosmetic improvements to her palaces as other aides begged the Government for more cash.Nearly £100,000 went on cleaning chandeliers and £14,000 on a curtain to protect wine bottles in the Buckingham Palace cellars.
Refurbishing a staff canteen and games room cost £808,000 while turning a private cinema into a State function room was £458,000, official expenses documents show.The funds came from a £15million grant from the Department for Culture to cover repairs to royal palaces.
A series of non-urgent maintenance jobs, which went unchallenged by ministers, raise question marks over how the money was spent. Yet senior courtiers at Buckingham Palace were begging the Government for extra funds to carry out vital repairs over the same period, 2004 to 2006.
Officials claimed the historic buildings were falling apart, with buckets in place to catch rainwater coming in through cracks in the walls and ceilings at Buckingham Palace. Revelations about ‘indulgent’ refurbishments will pose difficult questions for the Royal Household, which is battling to secure a new funding deal from the Coalition next year as swingeing cuts are brought in elsewhere. Graham Smith of the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic said: ‘A couple of days ago we heard that Buckingham Palace was trying to take money from a poverty fund to pay their heating bills because of the financial pressure they claimed to be under. Now we find they have essentially been feathering their nest.
‘It’s an absolute disgrace. The Royal Family clearly holds the taxpayer in absolute contempt.’ Fiona McEvoy of the TaxPayers’ Alliance added: ‘Taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be used to renovate wine cellars or cinemas, particularly at a time when money is tight. Though few would object to the vital maintenance of national assets, this is pure indulgence.’ The Queen receives £38million of public money a year, including the £7.9million Civil List for personal expenses, £15million for maintenance and £400,000 for communications – Dailymail