Our self funded monarchyThis column has long argued –  for many years we were alone – that The Queen and the Royal Family represent an extraordinary bargain for each of the sixteen realms over which The Queen reigns and for all of the countries which are members of the Commonwealth of which Her Majesty is Head.Long presented by republicans as a drain on the taxpayers, the truth is this.  Not only is the Royal Family entirely self funding -they  actually produce a profit for the British taxpayer. The Queen is effectively paying taxes to the UK government at the extraordinary rate of 85%.  This  benefit to the British Treasury and indeed the Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and other Treasuries, is quite apart from their tourist and promotional potential.As for Australia, nothing  – not a cent – has ever been paid to The Queen or any of the other members of our Royal Family. There is no salary, commission, or fees. We pay no superannuation, and there is no golden handshake. The same is true of Canada, New Zealand and the twelve other Realms.The Queen and no member of the Royal Family receive any personal salary as, for example Presidents typically do.Nor is there any provision for a pension or superannuation. (Incidentally, King Charles II magnanimously awarded a pension to Mrs. Cromwell, the widow of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell as dictator during the republic had murdered his father after a mock trial.)  In fact the Queen does not retire; and abdication merely because of old age or convenience is ruled out.In a desperate attempt to show some substantial taxpayer outlays, costs which are going to be incurred anyway, such as security are charged to visits, often on an inflated basis. Of course announcing this is in itself a serious security breach as it informs terrorists and others, but that does not seem to stand in the way of those with a political agenda. At the time of the Royal Wedding in 2011, some republican commentators were attributing the cost of a public holiday to the Royal Family. The decision to call a holiday was the government's not The Queen's. Apart from inappropriate and exaggerated attribution of "costs" to the Royal Family, we have also pointed out the fact that the British government and Parliament have failed lamentably to fulfil their side of an agreement made with The Queen at the beginning of her reign.…Civil List…  Because so many fail to appreciate these facts we repeat: The Queen does not receive a personal salary or pension as presidents do. Until April 2012, a return of some – some- of the Crown's income were made to The Queen through the  UK civil list and grants in aid. These were to maintain the official residences, and to pay the staff, the entertainment, and ceremonial and other functions head of state functions in the United Kingdom. The Civil List and other grants-in-aid involved the government giving back a relatively small portion of The Queen’s money. The government kept the rest.  This convention began in 1760. It was agreed then that the costs of the Crown would be paid from the Crown Estate and certain other hereditary revenues which would be handed over to Parliament. From that time the practice developed of the Sovereign agreeing at the beginning of his or her reign to hand over these revenues during his or her reign to the Parliament in return for a Civil List. In return Parliament would provide sufficient funds to allow The Queen to fund her state functions.…a bargain..This has proved to be a bargain, at least in the present reign.  But for decades the British politicians failed miserably to perform their side of the agreement. Notwithstanding inflation, the Civil List was frozen for about twenty years. None of the other Realms contributed. They do absorb some of the overheads relating to the time The Queen or a member of the Royal Family is in the relevant Realm, just as they do to their many foreign state visitors. In Australia, these overheads have sometimes been  artificially inflated by creative accounting, probably for the purposes of creeping republicanism.( In New South Wales, Government House was even purloined by the politicians for use for purposes including partisan politics, at least between the years 1999-2011. To read more go to the  Main Menu and then to the section Return The Governor )Unwisely, the attributed costs of providing security have sometimes been revealed. This is a dangerous practice as it reveals what security is normally provided, something which for elementary reasons should not be made public. A protest by ACM about this has been  considered by the government.The fact is The Queen and our Royal Family provide a unique an extraordinary bargain. That they also attract tourist and other revenue is of course also a relevant consideration. This is not only in the United Kingdom. A Royal Visit to Australia, for example, can attract international attention.…new British arrangements…   ACM has long argued that the British arrangements should be reformed by all of the  income of the Crown Estate being  returned to The Queen, leaving it to Her Majesty to grant what is not needed in legitimate expenses to the British government. In April 2012 the arrangements for the funding of The Queen’s Official Duties were reformed . The new system of funding, referred to as the ‘Sovereign Grant’, replaces the Civil List and the three Grants-in-Aid (for Royal Travel, Communications and Information, and the Maintenance of the Royal Palaces) with a single, consolidated annual grant. The Sovereign Grant is designed to be a more permanent arrangement than the old Civil List system, which was reign-specific. Funding for the Sovereign Grant comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue (initially set at 15%). The grant will be reviewed every five years by the Royal Trustees (the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Keeper of the Privy Purse), and annual financial accounts will continue to be prepared and published by the Keeper of the Privy Purse.   The new system provides for the Royal Household to be subject to the same audit scrutiny as other government expenditure, via the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee. The former in ACM's view should not be mandatory,in that the choice of auditor should be left to The Queen. The latter in  ACM's view is entirely inappropriate, allowing unknown politicians to gain international status by grandstanding about the audited expenditure by the Crown of income of the Crown Estate.In our view the allocation of the surplus of Crown Estate income remaining after covering state overheads should be a matter for determination by the Sovereign. There is for example a crying need to replace Britannia as a Royal Navy hospital ship and Royal Yacht. Those who know, recognize that  this was a tremendous investment for the foreign relations, international trade  and influence of  Britain and the Commonwealth. Why should not the Palace discuss the allocation of the Crown Estate surplus over time to achieve this desirable objective?     

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