Buckingham Palace £370m refurb 'a bargain' at £6 per person says DUP's Jim Wells
DUP MLA Jim Wells has described the £370m refurbishment cost of Buckingham Palace as a "bargain".
It was revealed that the taxpayer is to fund a 10-year refurbishment programme on the London landmark building.
Money to fund it will come from a 66% increase in the Sovereign Grant - the funding formula for the monarchy's official duties - for the 10-year period, with the total works estimated to cost £369m.
There has, however, been criticism, with some describing the work as a "waste" which could be spent on more deserving projects elsewhere, while others including Labour shadow chanellor and republican John McDonnell said the Queen's main residence was a "national monument" and that as such no government should or would allow it to fall into disrepair.
Mr Wells said that as the bill amounted to just £6 per head of the population, it was a bargain.
He tweeted: "The people of the United Kingdom will pay £6 each to refurbish one of our most important buildings. This and our Royal Family are a bargain."
He told the Belfast Telegraph: "Over 10 years it's about £14 all in per person, not just for the work but also to pay for the monarchy.
"While the Royal family themselves may not be paying for the work, what they bring in, in terms of tourism and taxation in other areas more than makes up for it.
"People from across the world flock to the UK to see it. Other countries preserve their royal buildings, even though they have no royal family. Although in the cases of France, Germany and Spain they regret that."
He continued: "The Queen is technically a tenant who lives in the palace on the grace and favour of the State. You wouldn't expect a tenant to pay for the work as landlord should do.
"Lots get joy from their visit - from all communities - and most believe it should be restored.
"It is right that the palace is preserved for future generations to come and it would be short-sighted to do otherwise."