This year the British government will make an extraordinary profit of over A$350 million (under £200 million) from The Queen.
As we have long explained here, most recently on 28 June, this represents an extraordinary bargain for the British government. This is because The Queen has handed over her personal income from the Crown Estate to the government in return for the Civil List and other grants.
This is not for her personal benefit but towards various Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth costs, including the buildings which are the heritage of the nation. In fact successive British governments have been so greedy that funds building maintenance are now grossly inadequate.
Given the dire state of public accounts in the UK, the Civil List and other grants will actually be reduced by more than £3 million this year. This is a decrease in real terms of 12.2 per cent.
…no increase for 20 years…
In fact no increase has been granted for twenty years. In real terms this represents a fall of about 75%.Most of the cut this year has been achieved through a reduction in commercial charter flights and a refund of lease rentals arising from the sale of The Queen’s helicopter, which was replaced last year.
The British government will only return a fraction of The Queen’s money, around 20%. And this is not for The Queen personally, but for official costs.
…totally unsatisfactory practice…
Notwithstanding this, it has been agreed that the accounts be open to greater Parliamentary scrutiny. After the way many British politicians have behaved in relation to their own accounts, and the way they have mismanaged the accounts of the nation, we would suggest that they have nothing to teach the Palace and everything to learn from them.
This practice of surrendering the income of the Crown Estate to the politicians is totally unsatisfactory. The income should be handed to the Sovereign, and any surplus given to the government. This works well with the Duchy of Cornwall, which belongs to The Prince of Wales
…Keeper of the Privy Purse explains…
The Royal Public Finances Annual Report states that Head of State support for 2009-10 was £38.2 million (including VAT of £1.9 million), compared with £41.5 last year.
Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said:“The Treasury contributed the equivalent of just 62 pence per person in the country to enable The Queen to carry out her duties as Head of State.
“The Royal Household is acutely aware of the difficult economic climate and took early action to reduce its Civil List expenditure by 2.5 per cent in real terms in 2009. We are implementing a headcount freeze and reviewing every vacancy to see if we can avoid replacement."
“Property Services funding will be reduced by £0.5 million this year. Work will continue on assessing the condition of the Estate, but it is acknowledged that the necessary cuts in public expenditure will have an impact on the backlog of essential maintenance which it is hoped can be addressed in the longer term.”
“In the meantime, the Household is continuing to pursue opportunities to reduce costs and generate income from the Estate’s assets, including commercial lettings and management charges.”