OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Get out the buckets, Buckingham Palace's roof is leaking

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2014-04-26T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Get out the buckets, Buckingham Palace's roof is leakingBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

If you think you have spring cleaning to do and a list of household repairs to save up for, think about Queen Elizabeth II's concerns.

English officials have warned for years that Buckingham Palace needs to tighten household budgets and spending that exceeds necessity.

According to wire reports, Queen Elizabeth II, who just celebrated her 89th birthday last week, has a dwindling savings that "has shrunk from $58 million to just shy of $1.6 million placing the the family's finances under the microscope."

According to reports, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are is in such a state of disrepair, employees are using buckets to catch water leaking from the roof during rain storms, causing a threat on priceless artwork and antiques.

The large boilers at the properties, which officials said are more than 60 years, cost $1.2 million each year to maintain and operate.

"The household must get a much firmer grip on how it plans to address its maintenance backlog," Margaret Hodge, the Labor chair of the public accounts committee told The London Telegraph.

"It has not even costed the repair works needed to bring the estate back to an acceptable condition. Again, the Treasury has an oversight role here."

According to reports, the royal household slashed spending 5 percent over the past five years, which is meager in comparison to the 33 percent cut from the larger English government operations in the same span according to the story reported by The Telegraph.

In 2013, the royal family received $51.4 million in taxpayer money, but spent $55.2 million, which has forced them to dip into their savings.

"We believe that the Treasury has a duty to be actively involved in reviewing the household's financial planning and management and it has failed to do so," Hodge warned.

According to reports, it could take as much $83 million to fully repair Buckingham Palace.

A Buckingham Palace officials defended the family's spending habits.

"A significant financial priority for the royal household is to reduce the backlog in essential maintenance across the occupied royal palaces,” a spokeswoman said.

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, which includes 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

A fatal fall

According to a wire story from the Associated Press, The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, are "utterly devastated" by the death of her brother, who fell outside a Manhattan hotel bar and suffered a head injury.

Mark Shand, Camilla's brother, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.

The New York Police Department said Shand, 62, had arrived with a relative at the Rose Bar in the Gramercy Park Hotel at about 1 a.m. Wednesday and went out to smoke a cigarette at about 2:30 a.m. and fell backward, striking his head as he tried to re-enter through a revolving door.

He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:25 a.m., police said, who said his death was ruled an accident.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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