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Royal Residences

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who owns Clarence House. [115780]

Clarence House, as part of St James' Palace, is held by the Queen as sovereign on behalf of the nation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) of 16 December 2003, Official Report, column 531W, if she will list the redecoration and refurbishment work at Clarence House, including amounts paid for materials and labour. [115834]

Clarence House has not been subject to substantial refurbishment for 55 years, with most of the expenditure on the residential and office areas being required irrespective of who occupies it.A works total of £3.2 million excluding VAT is being spent from the grant-in-aid on the redecoration and refurbishment works at Clarence House. These include:

Work carried outTotal cost (£ thousand)
General builders work445
Mechanical services and plumbing428
Electrical services410
Internal decoration373
Specialist finished250
Fire protection150
Asbestos removal110
Catering equipment96
Scaffolding—Internal and external85
Carpentry80
Service lift and shaft72
Removal of redundant services64
External decoration60
Window refurbishment54
Cleaning and repairs24
Structural steelwork19
Replacement of roof lights13
Total of redecoration and refurbishment works2,733
Construction manager's fees, services and site facilities relating to this work512
Total3,245

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) of 16 December 2003, Official Report, column 531W, if she will list the items to be moved as part of the spending allocated to Clarence House for removing, storing and reinstating contents. [115835]

The entire contents of Clarence House were removed by 19 removal lorries so that building works could take place. The items removed comprised domestic furniture, paintings, drawings and china.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who authorised the refurbishment and redecoration works at Clarence House, and on what date. [115836]

The refurbishment of Clarence House has been included for some years in the royal household's five-year maintenance plan approved by the Department. The royal household continues to keep the Department informed regularly of the cost and progress of the refurbishment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with whom the contents of Clarence House are insured; how much this costs per annum; and whether the cost is met by the civil list. [115837]

The Royal Collection insures the items that it owns against damage but not loss. None of the insurance costs for Clarence House were met from the Civil List.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the inhabitants of Clarence House in each year from 1997 to date. [115838]

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and a number of her personal staff lived in Clarence House between 1997 and Easter 2002. Much of it was used as offices for HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's household. Since that date the House has been unoccupied.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what has been the total rental income received from inhabitants of Clarence House from 1997 to date. [115839]

There has been no rental income received from inhabitants of Clarence House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the sums allocated to professional fees in respect of refurbishment and redecoration of Clarence House have been placed following a process of competitive tendering. [115840]

All professional fees over £5,000 in respect of refurbishment and redecoration of Clarence House, which were paid for out of Grant-in-aid, were tendered competitively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who decides the annual allocation of funds provided through the grant-in-aid. [115779]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State decides on the level of grant-in-aid for the Occupied Royal Palaces as part of the regular spending reviews. Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) are responsible for the maintenance of the Unoccupied Royal Palaces. The HRP receive no grant-in-aid.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the annual sum provided to the grant-in-aid has been in each year from 1979 to date. [115781]

Grant-in-aid has been paid since 1991 when the Royal Household took over day-to-day responsibility for property services for the occupied royal palaces in England. The figures are as follows:

Financial yearAnnual amount (£ thousand)
1991–9223,936
1992–9323,159
1993–9419,805
1994–9520,541
1995–9620,440
1996–9719,609
1997–9816,409
1998–9915,809
1999–200015,125
2000–0115,000
2001–0215,500
2002–0315,400
2001–02 and 2002–03 include temporary funding of £500,000 and £400,000 respectively to enable the grant-in-aid to take over financial responsibility for the Court post office's postal and telegraph services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps are in place to ensure moneys allocated to grant-in-aid are spent in an environmentally responsible manner. [115782]

The Royal Households, including representatives from The Prince of Wales' and The Duke of Edinburgh's Offices, are members of a working group with representatives from environmental organisations including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, World Wildlife Fund and Forest Stewardship Council. The group looks at the way the Palaces can be more environmentally friendly, and at the Household's environmental policy to promote sustainability, and ensures that appropriate guidance is obtained and followed.The Royal Household has a policy of using timber from renewable sources for construction work. Other environmentally friendly activities include the construction of combined heat and power units at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and a borehole for chilling the air-conditioning at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.