According to The Daily Telegraph, a report by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has found that the Queen’s financial reserves have reached a “historic low,” dwindling to 1 million pounds ($1.66 million) from 35 million pounds ($58 million) in 2001.
The Committee’s report has placed the blame squarely on the Queen’s advisers for overspending in a manner out of line with the austerity measures that have been adopted by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government.
According to the Telegraph, the royal household only managed 5 percent efficiency savings over the past five years, while some British government departments have cut their budgets by up to 33 percent. In the 2012-13 fiscal year, the report found that the royal household received 31 million pounds ($51.4 million) in taxpayer funds, but spent 33.3 million ($55.2 million), dipping into the reserves in the process.
Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP who chaired the committee, told Sky News that the financial mismanagement has resulted in two of the Queen’s most famous residences falling into disrepair, with no contingency plant to pay for the backlog of repairs.
“Forty percent of [the royal estate] needs something doing to it,” Hodge said. “The boilers at Buckingham Palace haven’t been replaced for 60 years. Windsor Castle has problems with the bedrooms and the Royal Picture Gallery has buckets to catch the water coming through.”
Hodge also called on the Treasury to “be actively involved in reviewing the Household’s financial planning and management,” which she claimed it has failed to do.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman the Telegraph that repairing the royal palaces was “a significant financial priority” and claimed that the royal household had doubled its income since 2007.