Get the spending priorities right

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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Now, before the Royalists amongst you start screaming, “Off with his head,” let me just say that I am a huge admirer of the Queen and the job that she has done for this country over the past six decades.

Anyone who dedicates the vast majority of their life to public service and manages to cope with such a dysfunctional family at the same time, deserves huge credit in my book.

My defence of the Royal Family and the positive role they play for this country is the source of countless arguments in the Stainton household.

However, I am not prepared to pay to fix the Queen’s dodgy pipes.

I understand that Buckingham Palace is falling down and badly in need of a refit but why should we pay to fix Liz’s plumbing? I need a new boiler but I can’t see ‘Her Maj’ offering to put her hand in her pocket for me.

Strictly speaking we ‘own’ Buck Palace and it is the public’s responsibility to ensure that it is maintained but £370m is a lot of public money to spend when the country is such dire straits.

In fact, I don’t think we can afford it right now, in fact I don’t think we can afford anything right now that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Let’s take the money that we were going to spend on Trident, Hs2, the House of Commons, foreign aid, MPs’ pay and councillors’ allowances and spend it instead where it is actually required.

We have to get our priorities right – if money can miraculously be found for these things, then it can be found to look after those that deserve a better life.

When older people in Peterborough are getting the help they need with basic everyday tasks, when the homeless have all got a roof over their heads and those suffering with mental illness are not enduring appalling care, then maybe, just maybe, we can spend a few quid on other things.

The charity, Age UK, says an estimated one-point-two million older people in England are not getting the help they need to cope with basic everyday tasks at home, like washing and dressing.

How can we even think about splashing the cash on rail lines and palaces when those that have paid into the system all their lives are being treated so poorly?

Next year, instead of ‘Children in Need,’ maybe we should just re-direct some of the Trident money and ensure that there are no children in need any more in this country.

Once we have spent the billions that we were going to be spend on a nuclear deterrent, that nobody will ever use and a rail line to Birmingham, that nobody ever asked for, then we can think about sorting out the Queen’s privy and giving a few extra pounds to those poor, struggling MPs.

If there isn’t enough left over, then perhaps the BBC could hold “Trident in Need,” “Councillors in Need” (make your own jokes) or even “Queen in Need.” I am sure all of those events would raise millions of pounds from a willing public.

Failing that, the Queen could even pay for the revamp herself, after all she was worth around £350m at the last count.

Alternatively, she could move into one of her many other houses, castles or estates and flog off Buckingham Palace to Travelodge – at least it would be somewhere to house the homeless!