The Queen is facing calls from British republicans and some left wing politicians to help pay for £370 million ($456 million) of repairs to Buckingham Palace.
Last week the 90-year-old monarch was awarded by the government a 66 percent rise in public funds to cover the cost of the “future-proofing” refurbishment project, which will be the London palace’s first major overhaul since the 1940s.
But thousands have objected to the announcement and believe the royal family should pay for the refit itself.
Mark Johnson, a member of the public, started a petition over the weekend titled “Make Royals Pay for Palace Renovation”.
The petition states: “There is a national housing crisis, the NHS is in crisis, austerity is forcing cuts in many front line services. Now the Royals expect us to dig deeper to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The Crown’s wealth is inestimable. This is, in a word, outrageous.”
It had gained more than 117,000 signatures by this morning, with hundreds more signing every hour.
This view was echoed by Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black, who at 22 years of age is the youngest MP to sit in the House of Commons. She attacked the plans in a tweet to her 85,000 followers:
— Mhairi Black MP (@MhairiBlack) November 18, 2016
Black was joined by senior Labour MP John McDonnell, a staunch republican and close ally of the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who told the BBC on Sunday: “It’s a heritage building, so we have to invest in it to preserve it. If the Queen and royal family want to consider a contribution, I certainly wouldn’t send the cheque back.”
Asked whether the royal family should be paying for some of the work McDonnell said: “That’s for them to consider. I think we’d welcome it.”
Buckingham Palace has about 100 miles of electrical cable and 20 miles of lead and cast iron pipework, much of which is in urgent need of repair. Boilers are also in urgent need of attention.