I have just found this little gem while looking on Facebook and thought it was too good to be true. Unfortunately, it is! Now, we know that the Daily Mail may not get it right most of the time, this time they may have. David Cameron said during the election campaign in 2010 that ‘we’re all in this together’ Well, it seems also that the Queen is now involved as well. This is what I found.
Queen is given an inflation-busting pay rise: Her Majesty to receive 22% increase over next two years after being reduced to her ‘last MILLION’
- Monarch set to be given £37.9million next year, up from £31million this year
- The Queen is said to be down to her ‘last million’
- But spending on Royal Household has fallen in last 20 years, claims report
PUBLISHED: 20:15, 10 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:19, 11 October 2013
The Queen is set to receive an inflation-busting 22 per cent ‘pay rise’ over two years, according to new official figures. The monarch is said to be ‘down to her last £1 million’, leaving her vulnerable to ‘unexpected costs’, a report has said. She is now expected to be given £37.9 million in 2014-15 to run her Household and conduct official engagements, up from £31 million in 2012-13.
The figures were released yesterday by the National Audit Office which has, for the first time, been allowed to examine all aspects of the Queen’s funding as Head of State. But while recommending the increase, their report goes on to highlight what it describes as ‘significant reductions’ in the monarchy’s funding over the last 20 years.
It says that grants for royal travel on official engagements both at home and abroad has been slashed by 76 per cent in real terms. The maintenance for royal palaces, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, was similarly reduced by an impressive 60 per cent. That has left, according to the NAO, a huge backlog in property maintenance, with 39 per cent of occupied royal palace being deemed below their ‘target condition’.
In order to cope with the shortfall the Queen’s money men have been dramatically scaling back their spending, reducing net expenditure by 55 per cent in real terms.
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According to the figures, that led to real-term expenditure of £32.9 million in 2011-2012, compared to £72.6million in 1991-92. In order to help meet the shortfall, the Queen has repeatedly eaten into her savings – known as ‘drawing down on reserves’ – over the years and is, apparently, down to her last £1 million in the bank.
The National Audit Office has, for the first time, been allowed to examine all aspects of the Queen’s funding as Head of State. The NAO, which scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government, says this poses serious questions about the palace’s ability to cope in an unexpected crisis if, say, the roof of Buckingham Palace fell down. ‘As part of its long-term planning the Household may need to consider whether the Reserve is adequate to meet unexpected costs,’ it says.
The NAO report will be put before parliament’s powerful Public Accounts Committee on Monday as part of as investigation into royal finances.
Until last year the monarch was funded by a complicated combination of civil list payments and government grants. Following an extensive review of royal finances by the government, the Queen now receives one single pot of money known as the Sovereign Grant to largely spend as she wishes on everything from funding her office to repairing the palace roof.
The money is taken from the Crown Estate, a wealthy portfolio of agricultural land, buildings and property – ranging from a retail park in Liverpool to London’s Regent Street – which historically belonged to the monarchy but the profits of which have, since the reign of George 111, gone to the Treasury.
As a result of protracted – and sometimes combative – negotiations with Downing Street, the monarch is now, for the first time in two centuries, entitled to keep 15 per cent of its profits with the rest going to the Treasury. This year the Crown Estate announced record revenue of £253 million.
Its entire holdings are now worth an astonishing £8.1 billion and the NAO says that profits are likely to continue to rise, meaning the Queen will enjoy further increases in funding to come. The palace insists most of its extra cash will be spent on a ‘massive backlog’ of repairs to royal palaces, which the Queen holds in trust on behalf of the nation.
It has long complained of having to put off millions of pounds worth of essential repairs due to those real-term falls in funding. Buckets are frequently used to catch water leaks in the picture gallery while none of the state rooms, regularly used for entertaining heads of state, have not been decorated in more than sixty years.
The new NAO report also highlights the royal household’s efforts to increase income through money-spinning schemes such as renting out its facilities for commercial events. This has generated a rise of 54 per cent in profits, £11.6 million last year alone.
Other nuggets in the report show that the monarch’s 436 staff cost her £19.5million a year, although anyone earning more than £21,000 has had their pay frozen since 2011 in a bid to cut bills. Last year the family spent £4.5 million on travel, a real term reduction of 30 per cent in the last decade, as royals were told to stop using private jets and take scheduled flights instead.
Of that £900,000 was spent on rail journeys last year and £1.6 million on helicopters. The royal train, which was used just 15 times last year at an average cost of more than £25,000 is now under review again.
ONE’S FEARS FOR TODAY’S EBOOK CHILDREN
Joanne Harris receives an MBE from the Queen at an Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London yesterday. If you’re worried that your children or grandchildren will grow up more interested in iPads than fairytales, you’re not alone.
In fact, you have an unlikely new champion – the Queen. She has shared her fears that children are more likely to play computer games or read e-books than settle down with a traditional story.
It is highly unusual for the Queen to openly express an opinion on such issues.
She made the comments as she presented author Joanne Harris with an MBE for services to literature at Buckingham Palace yesterday. Miss Harris is perhaps best known for her bestselling novel Chocolat.
Asked about her chat with the Queen yesterday, Miss Harris said: ‘She asked me what I thought about e-books and computer games and said that she feared children were playing with those more than they were reading books.
‘So I told her that we start them on e-books and computer games and TV and then try to get them on to books later.’
She added of her MBE: ‘It’s wonderful to be recognised and it’s wonderful to see the world of literature be recognised every time this happens to one of us.’ Earlier this year, the National Literacy Trust revealed that most children preferred to read on screens rather than from books, but those who used the new technology had weaker literacy skills.
And research published this week shows tablets have become a ‘must-have accessory’ for toddlers. Half of Britain’s two and three-year-olds use one, the OnePoll survey revealed. Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative member of the Public Accounts Committee, who set to quiz the Queen’s chief ‘bean counter’, Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Alan Reid, on Monday as part of the royal finances investigation said: ‘It is the first time the PAC or parliament has had this level of access to the Royal Household’s accounts.
‘We want to show we take our responsibilities very seriously and be sure the Royal Household is giving good value for money. ‘I think this kind of scrutiny can only be good for the monarchy.’