Queen costs taxpayers extra £200,000

The Queen Royal finances are in transition as the old system is phased out and a new funding model comes in

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The cost to the taxpayer of supporting the British monarchy has risen by £200,000 in the last financial year, Buckingham Palace accounts show.

The Queen's official expenditure totaled £32.3m in 2011/12 - up 0.6% from £32.1m in 2010/11.

But the palace said expenditure had fallen by 26% in real terms from a level of £36.5m three years ago.

Last year saw a fall in the Civil List, most of which pays wages, but royal travel and upkeep of residences rose.

Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse, said: "When the chancellor of the exchequer announced his plans for public expenditure to reduce by 25% in real terms over a four-year period, the Queen was very keen that the Royal Household should play its part in reducing its expenditure accordingly."

The cost of running the palace press office, official website and providing public information fell from £500,000 2010/11 to £400,000 last year.

Spending on royal residences and other buildings rose from £11.9m to £12.2m, while the cost of air and rail travel increased from £6m to £6.1m.

The accounts show travel undertaken by the Duke of York in his former role as UK trade envoy, with seven trips last year costing a total of £358,000.

These included an £81,000 visit to Saudi Arabia, and a trip to Thailand, Malaysia and China that cost £72,000.

Prince Andrew stepped down from the envoy role last year.

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said: "The price of royal travel is what tends to excite attention year in, year out."

'Hidden' cost

At a time of cuts, the palace is keen to portray itself as an institution which is sharing the pain.

But there are two challenges to this narrative.

Firstly, the published accounts never include the security bill. When Zara Phillips got married, the wedding of the Queen's granddaughter set Scottish police back £400,000.

And secondly, the talk of a pay freeze and income-generating schemes runs the risk of being overshadowed by the £6.1m royal travel bill.

A Prince Andrew charter flight to Saudi Arabia cost £81,000; a Prince Charles royal train journey was £38,016.

Supporters argue expenditure has gone down, in real terms.

Critics call for greater transparency, including publication of the Queen's tax bill.

An official said they'd never comment on her tax, but stressed the Queen wasn't involved in "any Jimmy Carr schemes".

The accounts do not show the cost of security for the Royal Family.

The campaign group Republic, which calls for an elected head of state, estimates that the total cost of the monarchy is £202.4m a year, which breaks down to £12.7m on each of the 16 working royals.

Even based on Buckingham Palace's figures, Republic says that taxpayers are spending five times more on each member of the Royal Family than on a front-line soldier in Afghanistan.

"The actual, real cost is still being hidden," said Republic chief executive Graham Smith.

"The accounts are not being properly opened up to scrutiny."

But Thomas Mace Archer Mills, chairman of the British Monarchist Society, said that the Royal Family had slashed its expenditure from more then £80m in the mid-1980s.

"Her Majesty is a frugal person, and she has proved so by reducing her cost to the public," he said.

If the monarchy was abolished, costs would remain - such as for security - for whatever head of state replaced it, he said.

"The current polls have shown that the Queen and the Royal Family are as popular as they have ever been since she came to the throne," he added.

Jubilee year

From next year the Royal Family will be funded by a Sovereign Grant, set at 15% of profits made by the Crown Estate two years previously.

This funding model replaces the system under which the Queen receives money from three different government departments.

It is seen as the biggest change to the financing of the Royal Family for 250 years.

The grant is expected to be about £34m in the first year, in line with recent royal spending.

Before the new formula kicks in, a grant of £31m has been set for 2012/13.

"Expenditure during this Diamond Jubilee year will require the use of reserves as the first year of the Sovereign Grant provides for funding of only £31m," said Sir Alan.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    It is a shame that the Royal Trolls constantly vote down comments which point out the Legal Fact which can be found on the Crown Estates own web site that the Crown Estates , do not belong to Elizabeth Windsor or any member of Her family.

    They are property of the state gifted to the reigning monarch, the title to , the right to sell and the revenue from remain the states not the Queens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.


    Yeah its called Job Seekers Allowance and is mostly employing chavs and neds nationwide.

    Not for long as I hear though, I heard very little money will be coming their way for their lazyness... coming to a jobcentre near you 2014. IN 3D!

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    243 seatroutfisher
    "you may be surprised to see we get value for money for 52p.
    Sadly we don't get that out of benefits claimants."

    I take it you are retired? Rich? A "businessman"? Tory?
    70% of HB goes to pensioners - think before you insult them or the thousands made jobless to keep the poor/rich gap comfortable enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    @ Britishcomradeatarms you came to the wrong chat forum today, the conspiracy crazies forum is on the YouTube video comment pages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    None of the tourists get to meet the queen. They are not coming to "see" the queen. They are coming because of our buidings, art and history. If there was no queen they'd still come to see the Tower of London etc.
    People don't go to Disney land to see mickey mouse, they got for the theatre of the event.
    No micky mouse and no queen won't make a jot of difference to visitor numbers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    "The accounts do not show the cost of security for the Royal Family."

    That would be an interesting number at a time when police numbers are being cut and the Met is consequently expected to underperform.
    Whilst I have great respect for the Queen and Prince Philip, I wonder if the security for some of the minor royals is more a matter of status symbols, than a response to genuine threats.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    steve @ 303:
    "..... It's not Liz's it belongs to the State not the Windsors"

    Why are you so disrespectful?

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    The problem is, the people that want to get rid of the monarchy don't understand the monarchy and the benefit that it brings, you mention 'Crown Estate' but my guess is the vast majority of people, even in the UK, have no freaking clue what the 'Crown Estate' is or does.

    The problem here is miss-information and interestingly it is the media that has caused this through spin without facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    It would be helpful to know why the Royal Train is so expensive. £38k for a journey is high! It would be useful to know over what period it was carried out and what costs are taken into account in putting a price to it (given security is not included). One sees why air travel might be expensive if planes are chartered (although there must be cheaper ways), but I thought the train was owned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Maybe we can hear more of how unpaid jobseeker workers were forced to sleep rough in order to make sure the Queens jubilee went off with a smash?

    Seems independent media commented on this fact, but the BBC decided to avoid it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Crown Estates? I wonder how the royal family obtained these estates. Did they start at the bottom, in a sink estate, and work their way up the ladder? Did they win the lottery? Or did they steal it from the people of England through conquest?

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    301 - I'd happily take a job with an 83% tax rate if it required no skills, qualifications or amount of serious graft, and still meant I'd be on 35m a year. Bring it on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Would be interesting to compare how much money our Monarchy MAKES for the country with how much they cost us. I wouldnt mind betting we get pretty good value for money. And to be honest, £32.3m is not that much when you compare it with Barclay's annual executive payroll.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    realy odd reading the spin thats placed on these figures it makes it look like the taxpayer is being mugged and that is far from the truth. who cares how much money is used to fund our royal family as long as there payment of tax is greater than the expenditure. anti royalists need note loose royalty loose one of this countries biggest tourist interests think of the loss in revinue then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    I cannot help but get annoyed when I read comments such as "They are worth every penny due to the tourism they generate". The tourists come to see the castles, palaces and trooping of the colour etc. They don't get to have tea with the queen! If we removed these parasitic leeches the tourists would still come. In fact their numbers would increase once we opened the currently closed off areas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch only 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne

    But it is not the private property of the Queen.
    It cannot be sold by the Queen
    Nor do revenues from it belong to the Queen

    That's the Law

    It's not Liz's it belongs to the State not the Windsors

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.


    This is why this country is starting to fail in every sense, if people believed all the rubbish that is spat at them without checking themselves. No way the Queen and Royal Family together costs 100billion... you are plucking figures from the fictional ass that the republicans have made to get information from. Dear oh dear.. and the sad part people will believe it... idiots :P

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    If i understand the maths right you are mostly complaining because the Queen with Profits of in excess of £200 million given to HM treasury gets £35 million back which gives the Queen an approx tax rate of 83%. I would love to see anyone on this site offer to pay 83% of their salary to the Government. if you make your cheques payable to 'HMRC' i am sure we can have this deficit sorted in a flash

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    The queen has no real powers,its a farce,never has she refused to sign a law,the moment she did governments will strip that power from her. When i joined the army i had to swear a oath to her which i never really believed in,i fought for my country n the public not for them or the queen and oaths should be changed to reflect that.

    Tourism will still happen with or without them, common sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    I would be happy with such a small increase in my salary.


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