Thursday, 23 October 2014

Royal wish ought not to be granted, say Republicans

With all three major parties committed to public sector cuts the pressure group that campaigns for the monarchy’s abolition wants greater scrutiny of its cost to the British taxpayer.
Republic accuses the royal household of deliberately underestimating its costs but supporters of the royal family argue it represents good value.
Buckingham Palace’s 2013 accounts reveal that the royal household’s sovereign grant was £35.7 million, a £2 million rise on the previous figure.
“What a bargain! How the Royal Family costs you just 56p a year,” declared the Daily Express.
But Graham Smith, Republic’s chief executive, claimed: “That is a fraction of the real amount, as
once hidden costs are included the real figure is just £600,000 shy of £300 million.”
According to the organisation the massive difference in figures is because security costs, the provision of grace and favour apartments to members of the royal family, royal visit costs
to council taxpayers and lost profits from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall are not included. Republic estimates these at £102 million,£30 million, £21.5 million and £90 million respectively.
However, Ian Roberts, vice-chairman of the British Monarchist League, accused Republic of “cooking the books in order to gain some publicity for its campaign, one that has consistently failed to garner public support from the British public as a whole”.
‘Reasonable costs’
He said: “The sovereign grant has abolished annuities to all but Prince Philip (pictured), and the Duchy of Cornwall largely funds the Prince of Wales. Spending has been cut heavily with minor royals having to rely on their own employment. The Crown Estate also earned the Treasury £211 million in 2007-08. ”
This is disputed by Republic as the Crown Estate is not the private property of the monarch.

Smith said total costs of £7 million would be more appropriate – “closer to what it costs, for example, Spain for their monarchy” – and allow the recruitment of either 14,000 newly qualified teachers or nurses.

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