Examination of witnesses (Questions 160
MONDAY 18 DECEMBER 2000
BOURN, KCB, MR
YOUNG and SIR
160. You have already got your sir hood.
(Sir Michael Peat) Thank you very much for that.
161. But you have not got yours, Mr Young.
(Mr Young) This is true.
(Mr Young) I want to be assessed by how well I am
carrying out my functions on page 11 in this particular regard.
As this Committee knows, I am Accounting Officer for around 60
quangoes and I oversee them in various ways, successfully or otherwise.
Indeed, we were discussing one of my projects just last month
163. I would not have reminded us of that one
had I been you.
(Mr Young) It shows what a modest person I am.
164. Mr Young, have you ever driven down Constitution
(Mr Young) Yes.
165. Have you ever done it at about, I cannot
remember what it is, eleven or twelve o'clock in the morning when
the Changing of the Guard comes up from having just left Buckingham
(Mr Young) Yes.
166. And do you remember that at the end of
the dragoon of horses that come up it is led by the police officer
at the front and do you remember what there is at the back?
(Mr Young) No.
167. Let me tell you. It is a little road sweeper
with his brushes that follows the horses up Constitution Hill.
I have to say after this afternoon's performance I feel a little
bit like the road sweeper at the end. I have got a few little
bits to tidy up. I want to start by asking you who authorised
the payment for £14 million from Buckingham Palace receipts
that was no longer needed by the fire repairs to go to the Royal
Collection Trust? Let me put it simpler: did you authorise it,
(Mr Young) I do not think such a decision was taken
168. Did you authorise it? Did you authorise
it? You may not have been asked.
(Mr Young) Say the question again. I do not want to
get the answer wrong. Which decision?
169. The decision that the £14 million
of receipts from Buckingham Palace this year that was no longer
required by the repairs to Windsor Castle should be appropriated
by, received by, paid to the Royal Collection Trust. Did you authorise
(Mr Young) If I have got the question right, let me
just say what I think the answer is to the various questions around
this. The formula for the distribution of the Windsor precinct
income is set out in the report and has been approved by the Secretary
170. Let us not get confused here. Are we not
talking about the money from Buckingham Palace?
(Mr Young) That was taken by the Household.
(Sir Michael Peat) There has been money from admitting
visitors to Buckingham Palace and, indeed, to Windsor Castle for
hundreds of years.
171. Sir Michael, earlier on you told the Committee
that the admissions to Buckingham Palace had been opened up and
that money had been received and specifically earmarked at the
beginning for the repairs to Windsor Castle. Then we got into
an imbroglio about what should happen now that Windsor Castle
fire repairs have been completed. The question that I am asking
is who authorised that those additional receipts should be paid
to the Royal Collection Trust, or should be retained by, or whatever
verb you wish to interpose there? Who authorised that the Royal
Collection Trust should have those monies?
(Sir Michael Peat) May I try to answer the question?
I think it is fair that I answer it rather than Robin Young. For
many, many years, going back, as I say, to the 18th Century, charges
have been made to go into Royal Palaces to see works of art, to
see the Palaces, and occasionally
172. If the answer, Sir Michael, is that nobody
authorised it then that is all you need to say. If we start in
the 18th Century my chances of getting enough questions in in
my 15 minutes is very limited.
(Sir Michael Peat) Do let me answer the question.
The answer is not that nobody authorised it. The Queen has decided
during her reign to open a number of additional parts of her Palaces
to the public. Take the Queen's Gallery that she opened in 1962
at Buckingham Palace
173. Are you saying that Her Majesty authorised
(Sir Michael Peat) The Queen decided to open the state
apartments in addition to the other areas of Buckingham Palace
that were already opened and the Queen decided that she would
give the money from the state apartments to go towards the costs
of the fire restoration.
174. And now to the question: after the money
was no longer required for the fire restoration, did the Queen
also decide that it should go to the Royal Collection Trust?
(Sir Michael Peat) The Queen gave it to the Royal
Collection Trust initially. The Royal Collection Trust decided
after the fire restoration was complete, and indeed had said it
long before the fire restoration was complete, that the money
would be used for the general maintenance of items in the Royal
175. You have just said that the Royal Collection
Trust decided that?
(Sir Michael Peat) On the Queen's behalf, yes.
176. On the Queen's behalf. So what you are
saying is that the authorityI want to be absolutely clear
on thisfor that money, that initiative that had raised
the £14 million, being kept by the Royal Collection Trust
was Her Majesty?
(Sir Michael Peat) Yes, via the Royal Collection Trust.
177. So the Royal Collection Trust took the
decision on behalf of Her Majesty to keep that money?
(Sir Michael Peat) Not to keep it, to give it for
the maintenance and preservation of items in the Royal Collection.
They have not kept it.
178. And no approval was sought for that or,
in the Royal Collection Trust's view, was needed for that decision
from any other body whatsoever?
(Sir Michael Peat) No approval was needed because
the money belongs to the Queen, and the Queen gave it to the Royal
Collection Trust, because Buckingham Palace is Her Majesty's Palace.
Obviously when the Royal Collection Trust was set up in 1993 and
when the state rooms of Buckingham Palace were opened in 1993
the matter was discussed with the Treasury and the Queen acts
on the advice of ministers.
179. Right. Can I ask the Treasury officials
who are here with us, who within the Treasury at that stageshould
I put it this wayagreed with Her Majesty's opinion? Who
was responsible for doing that?
(Mr Glicksman) I am afraid I do not know the answer.