British MPs have overwhelmingly approved a 360-million-pound budget for renovating Buckingham Palace which has not been decorated since 1952. The MP's backed changes to the UK's Sovereign Grant- the funding formula for the British monarchy's official duties - by 464 votes to 56 in the House of Commons yesterday. The grant will increase by 66 per cent to pay for the estimated 369-million-pound refurbishment. The 10-year repair and refurbishment project will cover replacing ageing cables, lead pipes, wiring and boilers amid fears about potential fire and water damage. "An independent specialist report concluded that without urgent work there is a risk of serious damage to the palace and the precious Royal Collection items it houses from, amongst other scenarios, fire and water damage," the palace had said in a statement when the refurbishment was announced last year. Bangladeshi-origin Labour MP Rushanara Ali was among Labour party MPs to oppose the move, along with 46 from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Queen Elizabeth II is to remain in residence during the work, which is set to begin next month. The 90-year-old monarch's household budget will now be awarded the 66 per cent hike until the refit of her central London residence to future-proof the ageing building is complete. The Queen spends around a third of the year hosting garden parties, receptions, investitures and other events at her official home in London. The work needed reflects the age of the building, which was first used as a royalpalaceby Queen Victoria and has not been decorated since 1952, the year the current Queen ascended the throne. When the work is finished by 2027, the royal grant is expected to return to its current level of 15 per cent.
MPs clear Buckingham Palace multi-million-pound repair budget
Press Trust of India |