The Queen is to receive an extra £2.7m in funding next year, as George Osbourne revealed the 2016/17 Sovereign Grant during yesterday’s Autumn Statement.
The small detail, listed on page 114 of the Chancellor’s Spending Review, confirms that the Royal Household will receive £42.8m, an increase of almost 7% from this year’s figure of £40.1m
The Sovereign Grant is calculated based on the profits taken by the Crown Estate each year. 15% of the takings are awarded to The Queen, which covers her official expenditure and also the cost of upkeep of royal residences. Introduced in 2011, it replaced the previous Civil List system and now allows greater Parliamentary scrutiny of the Royal Household’s expenditure.
The Crown Estate owns 350,000 acres of land across the UK, including most of London’s West End. It has enjoyed a period of fruitful growth over the last few years with profits increasing from £240.2m to £261.1m in just two years – a rise of nearly 9%.
The news of the increased grant is likely to cause contention, particularly in Westminster as politicians battle to find millions of pounds worth of savings to reduce the country’s deficit.
Last year, The Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Alan Reid, said: “The Queen, The Royal Family and the Household continue to provide excellent value for money: at 56p per person annually.”
“We’ve worked hard to bear down on costs, to maintain revenue, and to ensure that the additional funding in the 2014/15 Sovereign Grant has been placed into the reserve.
“Over the coming years, the maintenance of the Estate and, in particular, Buckingham Palace will present a significant financial challenge. We will continue to work closely with the Royal Trustees to ensure that the funding for the Royal Household reflects that challenge.”
Buckingham Palace, the oldest parts of which were built over 400 years ago, was remodelled to its present state in 1913. In recent years, it has faced challenging construction issues and constant maintenance is required to keep the 775-room palace in working order.
The building, which is the centre of The Queen’s operations in London, also houses the offices of other royals including Prince Andrew and Princess Anne.
Since 2011, other members of the Royal Family are funded by The Queen’s personal fortune, amassed from the Duchy of Lancaster. The Prince of Wales funds his own engagements and the work of his wife, Camilla, from the Duchy of Cornwall, his private estate held by virtue of being heir to the throne. The Cambridges and Prince Harry also draw their funding from the Duchy.
The Duke of Edinburgh still receives £359,000 annually from the Government.
The Sovereign Grant formula is set to be reviewed next year by the Royal Trustees, which could see the percentage decrease if Crown Estates profits continue to grow.
The full Autumn Statement, released by the Chancellor, can be found on the Treasury website.