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Royal Family facing cuts in funding

01 July 11 02:05
The Queen

Reforms to the Royal Family's finances that could lead to a cut in their budget have been approved by MPs.

Chancellor George Osborne has outlined plans for a new Sovereign Grant, which would see the amount of funding for the Royal Household's public duties lowered by 9% in real terms by 2015.

Legislation setting out the changes in detail will now go through Parliament after MPs approved the proposals.

Mr Osborne said the Royal Family will "do as well as the economy is doing".

He told the House of Commons that his new proposal meant that the amount of money going to the Queen would now be linked to the performance of the economy.

The grant would replace three different payments - from the Treasury, the Department for Transport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

"The new Sovereign Grant balances the public interest that our Queen is properly funded to carry out her official duties and the completely legitimate interest of the taxpayer in proper accountability and value for money," the chancellor said.

"We will see how the Crown Estate performs but the current estimate is that the formula means that, by 2014/15, the last full year of this Parliament, the monarch will receive around £35 million.

"In cash terms that is broadly in line with what they had spent in recent years, in real terms it is around a 9% cut over the Parliament. This is a big and historic extension to parliamentary scrutiny and I would like to thank Her Majesty for opening up the books."

Coronation coach

The grant would be based on the performance of the Crown Estate from two years earlier - so that the expected 2013/14 grant of about £34 million would represent 15% of the 2011/12 profits.

Under a settlement with King George III in 1760, profits from the monarchy's £6.7 billion Crown Estate properties go to the Treasury while the monarch receives a fixed annual payment.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Commons that the Queen should not be left short.

"I urge the chancellor, even in this time of austerity, when I know we are all in it together, and I know the Opposition spent all the money, and they maxed out the credit card, and all of that, but I think we should look after Her Majesty.

"When I see the coronation coach being pulled through the streets of London, I want to see it pulled by the finest horses money can buy. I want to see it gilded with the finest gold that can be bought."

Labour's Paul Flynn called for the funding to be linked to the state pension or inflation.

He added: "We must apply the same financial discipline as we apply to the poorest in society to those who are in the Royal Family."

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