It only took one word last year to describe why I wouldn’t be watching the Royal Wedding; inequality.
As the blushing bride was paraded through Windsor in a dress that cost more than £100,000 she passed spots usually occupied by homeless people who struggle to scrape together a single pound at the best of times.
A further £90,000 was paid for 20 silver-plated trumpets announcing the event as thousands of other families struggle to put food on the table. And £50,000 was splashed on a lemon elderflower cake bought from Violet Bakery in East London despite Britain being home to a growing number of food bank users.
And now taxpayers will have to swallow £2.4 million to renovate the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s home which is in need of urgent repairs, it has been claimed. Frogmore Cottage in Windsor has been turned into a single property from five separate homes and now needs sprucing up.
It comes as the Queen’s Sovereign Grant from the Treasury was £82 million in 2018-19, with £33 million set aside for maintenance, including major work on Buckingham Palace. Excluding money transferred to reserves for future building work at the palace, the Queen’s official expenses last year were £67 million, a 41 per cent year-on-year increase, the figures show.
It begs the question, therefore, that in an age of severe austerity, why is it that the well-off don’t feel the pinch as much as the least well-off?
This year the UK hosted the UN’s expert on poverty and human rights who concluded that the results of the austerity experiment are “crystal clear”. In a statement he said:
“There are 14 million people living in poverty, record levels of hunger and homelessness, falling life expectancy for some groups, ever fewer community services, and greatly reduced policing, while access to the courts for lower-income groups has been dramatically rolled back by cuts to legal aid.
“The imposition of austerity was an ideological project designed to radically reshape the relationship between the Government and the citizenry. UK standards of well-being have descended precipitately in a remarkably short period of time, as a result of deliberate policy choices made when many other options were available.”
Pretty damning stuff, yet things are unlikely to change anytime soon. Just 14 MPs turned up to discuss a report on 14 million people living in poverty, and Boris Johnson – the leading contender to become our next Prime Minister- has already promised tax breaks to the wealthy.
It seems in the UK austerity only applies to the least well off. The biggest cuts left for those most in need. Shameful really, but it’s all for Queen and country.