April 6, 2013 Leave a comment
By Derek Van de Ven
Her majesty the Queen has been granted an extra £5 million per year, as a result of new legislation regarding the taxpayer’s contribution to the Queen’s bulging finances. The new rules, called the sovereign grant, mean that the Queen will receive 15% annually of the profits generated by the Royal Estate. The money she receives for the financial year 2013-14 comes from the profits generated by the Royal Estate profits from the financial year 2011-2012, which came to £240.2 million. The total amount she will receive was raised from £31 million to £36 million, a hefty £5 million tax-funded increase. The previous year’s amount, £31 million, does not include the £1 million donated to the Queen to help cover the costs of running the Diamond Jubilee. The new system replaces the old system of the civil list and grants-in-aid, which gave the monarch a set amount of money every year and was not reliant on a percentage of profits. The BBC has reported that the cost to the taxpayer of the Monarchy has been rising slowly but steadily since 2010, at about £1 million per annum. However this year the costs took a much higher jump due to the changes in funding.
The money is supposed to help the Queen fund the costs of being a Monarch. This includes travel costs, both within and outside the United Kingdom, and official costs of Royal engagements such as public openings and meeting foreign heads of state. It is estimated that £10 million pounds is spent yearly on the wages for the Queen’s Royal chefs and footmen. It is expected that the costs of Her Majesty’s security would be higher but these figures have not been released.
A Spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said that the majority of the new funds will be spent on maintaining the grounds of all the Royal Estates around the UK. She argued that the money received by the Queen has decreased by 15% in ‘real terms’ over the last five years and this has caused a backlog of work to be done on the Royal Properties, hence why the money is needed. She added further that, by undergoing such restoration, ‘works will see funds spent in the real economy creating work and opportunities.’ It is poor timing however, that the new legislation comes during times of austerity in Britain; the highly unpopular ‘bedroom tax’ could see some of Britain’s poorest families losing £1000 a year, not including increased funds for the monarchy.
Whether or not you support the monarchy it is hard to not feel some anger at the new rules. Without even any public money the Queen and her family would still be ridiculously wealthy. It is therefore questionable as to why we, the taxpayers, should give her a penny at all when much more important government departments are having their budgets cut. It is thus hard to justify such drastic spending when in reality the money going to the Queen is unlikely to come back to us – taxes in the UK are supposed to help fund the key functions of the state – the NHS, education, defence, police and public services. The money is simply not being spent on such things. The anti-monarchy group, Republic, denounced the measures as immoral and absurd. The head of the organization, Graham Smith argued “the Windsors must learn to live within their means like everyone else.” Combined with the £1000 tax cut for millionaires or ‘wealth generators’, it is hard to believe the PM’s pledge that “we are all in this together.”