Queen to get £30m cash boost amid cost-of-living crisis

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The Royal Family spent more than £100m last year. (PA)
The Royal Family spent more than £100m last year. (PA)

The Queen is in line to get a £30m bonus due to a little-known rule that means the size of a taxpayer-funded grant can never go down.

The Royal Family's income is generated, in part, by the Sovereign Grant, which is funded by the taxpayer and paid for by the government. The payment is currently £86.3m a year.

The size of the Grant, which is used to fund things like royal trips abroad and maintenance of properties, is normally equivalent to 15% of the profits made by the Crown Estate, although that has been increased to 25% recently to pay for extensive renovations to Buckingham Palace.

According to the i newspaper, the Crown Estate made significantly less profit in the past two years due to the impact of the pandemic.

Read More: Royals spend £800,000 of taxpayer money to fix up staircase in Buckingham Palace

While this should have reduced the size of the Sovereign Grant, the amount of money paid by taxpayers will actually stay the same due to the existence of a little-known clause called the "golden ratchet".

The rule, which was introduced by the Cameron government in 2012, states that the Grant should remain the same as the previous year, even if the Crown's profits have decreased.

It means the size of the taxpayer-funded payout can never go down, even if the profits from the Crown Estate does.

According to the i, this will prevent the Queen's income reducing by £27m over the next two years.

What the core Sovereign Grant costs each person in the UK each year. (PA)
What the core Sovereign Grant costs each person in the UK each year. (PA)

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This effective bonus comes at a time when many other institutions funded by taxpayers are being squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis.

The Bank of England believes inflation in the UK could hit 11% this year and many places like schools and hospitals are seeing their energy bills soar while their income from the government remains the same.

The anti-monarchy pressure group Republic said on Twitter: "If Crown Estate profits dropped to zero, the Sovereign Grant would remain at £86m for the following year. This highlights the point we've often made that the grant comes from the government, not from the Crown Estate.

Watch: How much does the royal family cost?

"This arrangement is unique. Every other public body must submit proposed budgets and then negotiate how much money they'll get next year, based on what they spent in the previous year and what they expect they'll need in the future.

"For the royals, they just keep getting large increases year on year and their funding can never be cut, unlike funding for schools, hospitals or the police.

"The royals are not required to justify their spending in order to secure any increase in their budget, and they don't need to negotiate or face the possibility of cuts.

"While public services have been facing severe cuts for ten years and public sector workers have seen their incomes drop in real terms, the Sovereign Grant has increased by more than 55% since 2012.

"The Sovereign Grant is clearly absurd and indefensible. It is also deeply dishonest."

On top of the real-term increase in the Sovereign Grant, the monarchy is also spending more, according to accounts published on Thursday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's controversial tour of Jamacia cost the taxpayer more than £226,000. (PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's controversial tour of Jamacia cost the taxpayer more than £226,000. (PA)

They showed the monarchy’s taxpayer-funded spending came to £102.4m during 2021/22 – an increase of £14.9m, or 17%, on the previous financial year.

The difference was made up by leftover money from Sovereign Grant funds from the previous year.

Official royal travel amounted to £4.5m, housekeeping and hospitality to £1.3m, utilities £3.2m and payroll cost £23.7m.

Property maintenance soared by £14.4m to £63.9m mostly driven by the renovation of Buckingham Palace.

Despite this, a source close to Prince Charles said he is taking a very close interest in how inflation and the cost-of-living problems were impacting people, particularly the Duchy of Cornwall’s tenants, and their welfare.

Charles has spent time with farmers “sitting around the farmhouse table” discussing the challenges while visiting Duchy districts to work out ways to help them, the source said.

“He wants to hear from them, what is their lived experience, so we can see what we can do to try to help them, support them along the way because to roll the question into a wider point about the living crisis, the family are extremely conscious of this – the Prince of Wales is paying very close attention to this indeed,” the source added.

The prince and the Duchess of Cornwall have shown support for vulnerable communities through their engagements, including trips to high streets where the retail sector is struggling, the source said.

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