Buckingham Palace urged to become more profitable attraction
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Buckingham Palace urged to become more profitable attraction

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British MPs have criticised the Royal Household for mismanaging its finances, calling for Buckingham Palace to be opened to paying visitors more frequently to help balance the books.

The Public Accounts Committee found the Queen received £31m ($51m, €38m) from British taxpayers in the 2012/13 financial year for official duties, but Buckingham Palace required a further £2.3m ($3.8m, €2.8m) from its reserves due to overspending, "leaving a balance of only £1m ($1.7m, €1.2m) at 31 March 2013 - a historically low level of contingency."

The committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge, concluded the Royal Household is "not looking after nationally important heritage properties adequately."

Its report stated that in March 2012, 39 per cent of the royal estate was "below what the household deemed to be an acceptable condition," adding that Buckingham Palace needs "to get a much firmer grip" on how it plans to arrange and pay for repairs.

Although the Royal Household generated £11.6m ($19.3m, €14.1m) during the tax year, Hodge says more can be done to replenish the reserves and cover the cost of the repairs.

"The Queen can attract income - visitors to Buckingham Palace - but Buckingham Palace is only open 78 days a year, they only have about half a million visitors,” she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Compare that to the Tower of London - they have over two million visitors."

Certain sections of Buckingham Palace has been open to visitors during July and August since 1993.

Despite funds raised by the attraction paying for some maintenance to the Royal Estate, locations such as Windsor Castle and the Victoria and Albert Mausoleum have been waiting 18 years for repairs.

Summarising the report, Hodge said the Queen “has not been served well by the Household and by the Treasury, which is responsible for effective scrutiny of the Household’s financial planning and management.”

A Palace spokesperson told the BBC that recent amendments to the Queen’s public funding have “created a more transparent and scrutinised system, which enables the Royal Household to allocate funding according to priorities.

"This has resulted in a more efficient use of public funds,” they added.

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British MPs have criticised the Royal Household for mismanaging its finances, calling for Buckingham Palace to be opened to paying visitors more frequently to help balance the books.
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