Monarchy to see financial boost from taxpayer after Crown Estate income rises
The monarchy is expected to receive a financial boost from the taxpayer after the Crown Estate, whose profits fund the Queen's official work, recorded a large jump in income.
On the day Buckingham Palace accounts were released showing the Queen's official net expenditure increased by £2 million to almost £42 million, figures from the Crown Estate revealed an 8%, or £24.7 million, rise in profits to £328.8 million in 2016/17.
Under the Sovereign Grant funding formula, which pays for costs such as royal household salaries, official travel and the upkeep of royal palaces, the Queen receives a percentage of the Crown Estate profits for her official expenditure, but from funds two years in arrears.
In the 2018/19 financial year, the grant is expected to be £82.2 million, 25% of the Crown Estate's £328.8 million profits paid to the Treasury, an increase of 8% or just over £6 million.
The Queen and the Royal Family's official travel cost the taxpayer £4.5 million during 2016/17, up £500,000, but a royal source has revealed the Queen keeps an eye on travel costs.
Not only does the Queen "sign off" all royal travel, the source suggested she comments to her family if the visit is too expensive. It said: "She might have a word in the ear of the principle".
Clarence House has also released its annual accounts, which showed the Prince of Wales' annual income from his hereditary estate the Duchy of Cornwall has increased by 1.2% to £20.7 million.
Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: "When you look at these accounts the bottom line is the Sovereign Grant last year equated to 65 pence per person, per annum, in the United Kingdom, that's the price of a first class stamp.
"Consider that against what the Queen does and represents for this country, I believe it represents excellent value for money."
The accounts reveal the most expensive trip was a £154,000 visit by the Prince of Wales to Romania and, with the Duchess of Cornwall, Italy and Austria, their first trip in the official Government jet used by David Cameron and dubbed "Cam Force One".
The price for using the converted RAF A330 Voyager refuelling aircraft is the top figure of a number of estimates, but a source said: "We are also satisfied, as I believe Government are, that the use of Voyager will prove to be value for money against the cost of commercial charters, particularly for these longer overseas visits."
The accounts also show the Duke of Edinburgh made a £18,690 trip on the royal train to attend a dinner in Plymouth last November, marking two important Royal Marines anniversaries, travelling from Taplow, Buckinghamshire, and returning to Windsor.
To help pay for a £369 million refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, the percentage of the Crown Estate profits paid to the Sovereign Grant will increase from 15% to 25% between 2017 to 2027.
Work to renovate other royal residences continues and the royal accounts reveal £1.2 million had been spent last year replacing the doors of Windsor Castle's orangery.
When the work is completed on the Queen's official London home, officials hope to be able to increase the summer opening of the palace by an extra 15 days.
The Sovereign Grant for 2016/17 was £42.8 million, up £2.7 million on the previous financial year. Property maintenance had risen £1.5 million to £17.8 million.
During last year the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday and she carried out 162 engagements in 2016/17.
Philip is to retire from public duties after the summer and so the year to March 31 was the final time he undertook a full 12-month period of official events, clocking up 196 engagements.
Against the backdrop of the Duke of Cambridge leaving his job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot later this summer, Sir Alan added: "We can expect to see other members of the family doing even more to support the Queen in the years ahead."
Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, published its own report on royal expenses and claimed, when security and other costs are included, the annual bill for the monarchy is nearer £345 million.
Graham Smith, the organisation's chief executive, said: "This massive bill for the taxpayer is supporting privileged lifestyles: helicopter flights around the country, palatial homes, round-the-clock security for minor royals who should pay their own way, and millions of pounds in cash handed to the family by the two duchies."