Queen Elizabeth II is running short of reserve funds, which have hit $1.6 million representing an “all time low,” according to a report from the Public Accounts Committee released Monday.
According to the report, the royal household's coffers have hit a “historically low” level due to overspending and the committee is “concerned that the household has reduced its balances to such an extent that it could be unable to cover its expenditure or any unforeseen events.”
The low figure is surprising considering that the fund held $58 million in 2001. Reportedly, the queen’s courtiers have been advised to “take money-saving tips” from the Treasury. According to the Telegraph, the royal family has saved only 5 percent on its budget over the past five years compared with government departments, which are “cutting their budgets by up to a third.”
In the report, the committee recommended: “The Treasury should be more actively involved in reviewing the Household’s financial planning and management.”
Margaret Hodge, the labor chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, reportedly said: “We got the impression that they just haven't tried to make greater savings. Here we are, we're all in it together, but they are failing to eke better value for the Queen. They are dipping into their reserves in a way that just isn't sensible.”
However, Chancellor George Osborne reportedly said that the criticism aimed at the queen’s advisers was unfair. “They’ve lived within a frozen budget over the last years and indeed the cost to the Royal Family for the taxpayer has come down quite sharply over the last couple of decades,” he said.
But, the committee reportedly observed that more than 300 palace buildings are, literally, “crumbling.” And, according to reports, currently there is an $82 million backlog in repairs due to the recent funding shortage.
Reports by the committee also state that the royal family should cut down on its expenses at Buckingham Palace and Royal Mews, which racked up a power bill of $517,108 in 2012-2013 and a gas bill of $765,719.
"The Household told us that replacing the heating system in Buckingham Palace, which is over 60 years old and is not efficient, will cost between $828,700 and $1.6 million. It expects to carry out the replacement within three to five years,” the committee wrote in its report.
“It needs to get a much firmer grip on how it plans to address its backlog of property maintenance,” stated the committee’s report.