Record profits boost Queen's income

Royal AscotThe Queen's income will receive a boost next year after record profits from her lucrative Crown Estate property empire.

Controversial changes made last year tying Royal Family funding to Crown Estate profits means the Queen and royal household will be entitled to a 16% hike in their official duties grant, to £36 million from next April up from £31 million this year.
The rise follows the Government's move last year to scrap the Civil List and link funding for the royals to profits from the Crown Estate, as part of a new sovereign grant.

The royal household is entitled to 15% of profits from the Crown Estate - which belongs to the nation and includes a host of historic properties, such as Regent Street in the West End of London, Windsor Park, Royal Ascot and most of Britain's coastline.

Figures for the Crown Estate reveal the portfolio enjoyed the best performance in its history, with profits rising to £240 million in the year to March 31 from £231 million the year before.

Previously, all profits from the Crown Estate went to the Treasury and the taxpayer - a historic arrangement dating back to 1760. Over the last 10 years, the portfolio has contributed £2 billion to the Treasury.

Campaign group Republic said it was "disgraceful" that 15% of Crown estate profits went to the royal household. Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said: "This is more evidence that the whole funding arrangement needs to be reformed and put on a proper footing."

A Treasury spokesman said it was up to the royal household to spend the grant "prudently" and stressed any money not spent would go towards a reserve to cope with unexpected costs and dips in revenue.

While there is no cap on cash received from Crown Estate profits, the Treasury has set a cap to ensure the reserve does not exceed half the sovereign grant in that year.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Royal Household is absolutely committed to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer, having already reduced expenditure by a fifth over five years. The sovereign grant is a simpler, more transparent way of funding the monarchy and is, of course, now open to scrutiny by the National Audit Office."
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