07/02/2012

Queen and Royal Family costs taxpayers an extra $320,000

2012-07-02T153339Z_01_DMR003_RTRMDNP_3_BRITAIN
Queen Elizabeth inspects soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, during the Ceremony Of The Keys at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Monday. The ceremony marks the start of Holyrood Week in Scotland with the Queen and Prince Phillip attending Diamond Jubilee events accross the country. (Reuters)

It’s a good thing the Queen got the bulk of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations out of the way before now.

That way, the yelping over just-released royal expenses didn’t get in the way of the feel-good days of yore.

The Annual Report into Royal Public Expenses was released Monday, revealing increased travel costs for the Royal Family and a slight rise in the cost of the monarchy for each Briton (Canadians are spared) to 83 cents (Cdn), not including police protection.

Among some of the more eyebrow-raising items in the financial report for the year ending March 30:

-          Prince William and Kate spent $83,000 (all figures Canadian) for the one-way flight from Los Angeles to London for their seven-person entourage on the last leg of their North American tour last July.

-          Prince Charles and Camilla spent $735,000 for the private jet that got them through the Middle East, South Africa and Tanzania last year. The Palace explained that scheduled flights were not available.

-          Prince Harry’s Jubilee tour of the Caribbean and Brazil racked up $171,000 in airline costs.

-          Even though Prince Andrew stepped down from his role as UK Special Representative for British trade in July 2011, he completed several commitments the rest of the year, all adding up to about $559,000 in travel.

-          Total costs for the Royal Family hit $51.6 million, an increase of about $320,000 over the previous year.

The Palace noted that spending in several areas decreased, notably the cost of the Royal Household staff. The cost of running the press office, for instance, fell about $160,000 to $638,000.

That was offset by the increased travel costs – up $160,000 to $9.7 million – and more maintenance costs for the royal residences (up $480,000 to $19.4 million).

The Palace pointed out that over the last three years, spending in real terms has still been reduced by 26 per cent.

That math didn’t sit well with republicans, who argue that the costs of royal protection and spending by local towns hosting the royals adds another $300,000 to the totals.

“This increase is indefensible and morally repugnant,” said Republic president Graham Smith. “As Britons face deep cuts to public services and struggle with rising prices, the royals continue to help themselves to our money.

“The Windsors are not just financially reckless -- they are out of touch and out of control.”

The Palace accounting comes on the heels of the money report from the Prince of Wales, which showed an 11.8 per cent increase in funding.

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At least the Royals are not adverse to flying commercial. $83,000 to fly 9 people - probably in First Class is still much less than Chartering a private jet. How much does our Governor General cost? Where are David Johnston's expense reports? Johnston NEVER flies commercial - always flies on Government Jets, either the Challenger Jet or Airbus. How much did it cost to fly Johnston and some of his University buddies down to Brazil with a "working" side trip to the Bahamas a few months ago? Why isn't the Canadian media digging into Johnston's expense account?

Whether or not the Monarchy continues to operate on behalf of British citizens is a matter for them to decide, and much of their goings-on draw little of my attention or desire to comment. I do feel it necessary to express my dissatisfaction that British citizens will pay the bill for their jaunt to the U.S. to meet up with Hollywood's finest. There's no Monarchy activity going on here - probably more like Wills catering to his new socialite wife who wants to start traveling in more acclaimed circles. I would have thought he would have balked at this idea, given his reported disdain for the media due to their responsibility in his Mother's death (His Mother also began to travel in these circles, more so post-divorce). Note, too, that the Hollywood event did not generate any positive pro-Monarchy buzz but did seem to create a boast-like hype about who they were able to meet....

Again, it's no problem, but I don't feel it's justified for the Brits to pay the fee.

Not sure why this is of interest to Canadians seeing as they do not have to foot the bills. At 83cents per head it is steal. Nothing is mentioned about the 1 billion pounds brought in by tourism for the royal wedding last year and at least the equivalent from the Jubilee events in June. Do we know how much Canada spends on diplomatic events etc? Nothing mentioned about the taxes that the Royal Family pays yearly either.

I'd rather pay for the Royals than finance the Tony Clement G20 re-election fund, overpriced jets, unnecessary prisons, or any number of other lousy "democratic" wastes of money.

The Monarchy generates hundreds of millions of dollars through tourism, charitable efforts and more. It's important to keep their spending responsibly in control, but 51 million is a pretty good investment considering the returns. Do those British MPs *really* want to be responsible for robbing the people of the cash-cow that is the Monarchy?

Funny, there is no mention of the revenue from the Royal Estate to the public purse. The British government makes about 240 million pounds from the Rotal Estates. That's 200 million in profit. Also, there is the added income generated by tourism and additional income from all the suveniers etc. I wish these article would explore the other side of the balance sheet...

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