Once again, the British taxpayer has received a massive financial return from the Royal Family. This is because The Queen has handed to the Government all of the revenue from the Crown Estate and similar sources. The Treasury’s gross receipts in respect of the Crown Estate just this year were £211 million ( Aus $432.26 million) in 2007-08. The Royal Family actually costs the British taxpayer nothing.
The 2008-2009 Annual Report on Royal Public Finances sets out details of public expenditure on property and travel. It estimates that Head of State expenditure for 2008-09 at £41.5 million (Aus $85.01 million) has increased by 1.5% in real terms. Over the past eight years it has decreased in real terms by 1.3%.
Accordingly a surplus on the Crown Estate revenues of £170.5 million (Aus $349.30 million ) has been retained by the British taxpayer. But as almost all of the expenditure of the Royal Household is spent on Head of State activities, which would be incurred whether the country was a constitutional monarchy or not, all of the revenues are actually spent on public purposes.
The Queen is not paid in the sense of receiving any personal allowance or superannuation. No moneys are paid by the Australian taxpayer to cover the costs of the Royal Household, including the performance of duties as Queen of Australia while outside of Australia. When The Queen comes to Australia travel costs are incurred.
(These are inflated by security costs, sometime dubiously so. This practice of revealing separate security costs concerning internationally protected persons is dangerous. We have warned the Federal government about this. Itemising these signals the degree of security offered to each internationally protected person and this can be extremely useful to criminal and terrorist elements)
Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: “The money provided by the taxpayer to enable The Queen to fulfil her role as Head of State, is equivalent to 69 pence (Aus $1.413) per person in the country . This is the annual cost, not the daily, weekly or monthly cost and is lower in real terms than it was in 2001.
“The reduction in the amount of Head of State expenditure in real terms reflects the continuous attention the Royal Household pays to obtaining the best value for money in all areas of expenditure.
“The year under review has seen significant investment in IT projects with the launch of the new British Monarchy website and the implementation of new personnel, payroll and on-line recruitment systems.
“Increased expenditure on Property Maintenance in 2008-09 was made possible by increased receipts from commercial lettings and the Royal Collection.
“Expenditure on Royal Travel has increased due principally to lower availability of aircraft from the RAF and the consequential increase in the use of commercial charter aircraft, often at short notice.
“Last year, we reported that with no increase in funding over the next 10 years the backlog in essential maintenance projects was estimated to be £32 million by 2018.
“Allowing for the cost of re-decorating the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, and Windsor at £4.5million, a further year without an increase in funding and revisions to estimates of repairs, it is estimated that the backlog will have increased to £40million by 2019.
“We will continue to work with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to agree the criteria for assessing the backlog and thereby improve the estimate of the additional funding required,” he added.
The Queen and the Royal Family are indeed an extraordinary bargain.