Petition to make UK royal family pay for Buckingham Palace repairs gains 70k+ signatures

A general view of Buckingham Palace in central London, Britain, 18 November, 2016. © Hannah McKay
A petition calling for the British royal family to foot the bill for £369 million worth of repairs to Buckingham Palace has surpassed its intended target of 45,000 signatures, quickly reaching over 70,000.

The move comes after Queen Elizabeth II, 90, was awarded a 66 percent rise in funding for the palace refurb by Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

Thousands are not happy with the announcement during a time of austerity and cuts to housing for vulnerable families and think the royal family should pay for their own expenses.

Mark Johnson, who started the petition, said on the page that “the Crown and its estates should be made to fund its own renovations.”

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“There is a national housing crisis, the NHS is in crisis, austerity is forcing cuts in many frontline services,” Johnson wrote. “Now the Royals expect us to dig deeper to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The Crown’s wealth is inestimable. This is, in a word, outrageous.”

Scottish Nationalist MP Mhairi Black also condemned the government’s agreement to foot the repair bill on Twitter.

“Privileged family receive ultimate home makeover, meanwhile 50’s women can’t get pensions and 1 in 4 children live in poverty,” she wrote.

Other Twitter users also slammed the move.

Officials, however, warned that there could be a risk of “catastrophic building failure” if the repairs were not carried out, the Guardian reports.

The refurbishment of the palace will be the biggest carried out on the site since World War II. The palace’s boilers, which are 33 years old, 100 miles of electrical cable and 20 miles of lead and cast iron pipework will be the primary focus of the repair plans.