As of April 2018 The Queen’s taxpayer-funded income will rise to £82.2 million, an 8.1 per cent increase from 2017. The Queen’s income, which is known as the Sovereign Grant, supports the head of state but also covers the costs of the occupied royal palaces.
First established at £31 million for the 2012-2013 tax year, the Sovereign Grant replaced the Civil list and payments from various government departments as the primary financial provider for royal travel and property maintenance.
The Grant is calculated as a percentage of the Crown Estate, which is currently worth £328.8 million. Ostensibly a property company owned by The Queen, the Crown Estate is actually a financer of the treasury as any surplus is paid in in exchange for the government paying the costs of state. It has been this way since 1760.
The planned 2018 increase is the second increase agreed by Members of Parliament this year after they approved a new way of calculating the grant total in March of this year. Instead of the Sovereign Grant being calculated at 15 per cent of the Crown Estate’s profits, it was decided to calculate it at 25 per cent, which would help the monarchy find the £369 million needed for repairs to Buckingham Palace over the next 10 years.
Because of the March change, the Sovereign Grant went from £42.8 million up to £76.1 million. The new 8.1 per cent rise will raise this total again to £82.2 million and can be attributed to a boost in Crown Estate profits, which are made up of commercial property rents in London, property sales, shopping centre developments and offshore wind farms among other holdings.
Every year there’s controversy about the costs of the Sovereign Grant because the money actually comes from tax revenues at the Treasury and so the sum will not do down even if there is a decrease in Crown Estate profits. But people such as Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, stress the importance of recognising the value for money.
Speaking to the Express newspaper, Sir Alan said: “In 2016-17 the Sovereign Grant equated to a cost of 65p per person in the United Kingdom – the price of a first class stamp. When you consider that against what the Queen does and represents for this country, I believe it represents excellent value for money.”
In terms of numbers, in 2017, in exchange for the sovereign grant, the Royal Family made 65 overseas visits and undertook more than 3,000 official engagements at home and abroad.
The queen supplements the grant with money generated from renting properties and function space at royal estates, tourism revenue from the royal palaces.