Here’s something odd. One of Britain’s wealthiest women lives in what is effectively a grace and favour house. Several are at her disposal, as it happens. And at the disposal of various of her rellies. Anyway, her primary residence is going to get a wash and brush-up, at a cost of an estimated £370 million. This will be funded via an increase in the Sovereign Grant (the Civil List as was).
Let’s ignore for the time being that there will be a cost overrun. You know it, I know it, and the dimwits in the government who are shelling out the dosh know it. It’s what happens with all government funded projects.
Among the things that are to be repaired in Buck House are a toilet that fell off the wall. There are also plans to replace 2500 radiators, and the associated pipework. Terry the plumber must be rubbing his hands with glee.
But the big one, apparently, is that the wiring dates back to the 50s, and is in a pretty parlous state. This must be rewired, which in a 600 odd room house will mean about 100 miles of wire, and presumably a lot of tooth-sucking from a lot of sparkies.
Meanwhile, down in Portsmouth Naval Base, the new warships that are on the way to being commissioned next year won’t be able to dock, since the shoreside power supplies aren’t up to it. That’s because that wiring goes back to the 1930s. Not replaced in over 80 years, but I have no doubt there’s been a few repairs where it’s been botched with wet string.
We then have to wonder just why Madge and her not inconsiderable staff have let things come to such a pretty pass. The place is open to tourists, and they cough good money to get in; best part of 40 notes for an adult. Where did that revenue go? She can’t have spent it all on Tupperware containers for he brekkie cereal, can she?
Here’s something you may not know. She doesn’t even like the place; she much prefers Clarence House.
In the meantime, don’t get me going on the £5.7bn that’s going to be used to refurbish the Houses of Parliament. This is where Philip Hammond will this week announce the £1000 a year cuts for people receiving working tax credits. Even Odious railed at that idea.
That £5.7bn will go up too. You know it, I know it, and the dimwits in the government know it.
PS I know the Crown Estate pays a lot of tax, so don’t bother to mention it. It’s a red herring. I’ve paid a lot of tax in my time too, but no government paid me back some of it so I could go down to B&Q for some paint.