HC Deb 01 April 1890 vol 343 cc443-5

Resolutions [31st March] reported. 1."That a sum, not exceeding £31,725, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1891, for expenditure in respect of Royal Palaces and Marlborough House.

(6.0.) MR. W. REDMOND

I think before the House agrees to this Resolution we ought to have a promise from the Government that they will endeavour to lessen the expenditure on the unoccupied Royal Palaces. As I said last night, we do not complain of proper provision being made for proper Palaces for members of the Royal Family, but it does seem a monstrous thing that year after year thousands of pounds should be expended upon Royal Palaces that members of the Royal. Family never occupy. At least, I think an undertaking should be given that inquiry shall be made with a view to the reduction of this expenditure. I do not see why the Government should not undertake to appoint a Committee on the subject. I am quite sure there is much dissatisfaction caused throughout the country as public attention is drawn year after year to the large sums of money the House of Commons is called upon to vote for buildings that serve no public purpose whatever, and I think the Government should give an undertaking that they will endeavour to practise economy under this Vote.

*(6.5.) MR. PLUNKET

Certainly; I can give an undertaking that I will always do my best to reduce expenditure under this Vote, and every other Vote for which I am responsible. So far as I am concerned, the hon. Gentleman may rest assured I will give my best attention to the matter.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give a Committee?

Resolution agreed to.

2."That a sum, not exceeding £78,775, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1891, for the Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens."

(6.10.) MR. W. REDMOND

I cannot lose the opportunity of expressing my strong opinion that a great many of these Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens might, without any detriment to their use by the Royal Family, be thrown open to the public. I may mention, for instance, Hampton Court Park and the grounds of Buckingham Palace. These last, I believe, are extensive, and I am assured on good authority are never used. It is only reasonable, of course, that while Her Majesty is in residence at Buckingham Palace the public should be excluded; but for a great part of the year the Palace is empty, and then the grounds might be thrown open to the public. Open spaces in London are not so many that this would not be a great boon to the people, and I cannot help thinking that Her Majesty would not object to her people having an entry to the grounds during her absence from London. There is no intention whatever of encroaching unwarrantably on the privileges of those who have special claims to the enjoyment of the Royal Parks, but surely it is not an unreasonable request that the people who contribute nearly £100,000 towards the maintenance of the Parks should have some share in the enjoyment.

*(6.15.) MR. MORTON

Several questions were put last night in relation to this Vote to which no answers were given for want of time, and, perhaps, we may have the answers to-day. I asked whether in future the expenses of St. James's Park, the Green Park, and Hyde Park could be kept separate. I also wished to know the functions of the bailiff of the Royal Parks. He appears to be a military officer, but I cannot understand what his duties are. Then I find a large expenditure for the Rangers' Department, and I ask why this expenditure when we have a large item for police. Then I asked for an explanation of the item on page 12—£96 for allowances in lieu of fees. If fees are abolished and you then make allowances out of the public money, I do not see much gain in the result.

Resolution agreed to.