Anti-monarchy group Republic have been slammed following the release of their costing of the British Monarchy – as the group have been inflating their estimates by tens of millions of pounds, creating a false impression of Royal finances.
The group claim that the ‘true cost’ of Monarchy is in the hundred millions, and their calculations put it at £337 million for this last year – when The Queen only received a fraction of this, being granted £35.7 million in the Sovereign Support Grant of 2014-2015.
They have called their estimates of Royal finance ‘an abuse of public money’, but when their figures are looked at, errors can be seen throughout. A report released to the media also blasted the figures.
Their report claims that “each ‘working royal’ costs the taxpayer around £18.5m a year on average”.
WRONG. The Sovereign Support Grant is given to the Palace and is to support The Queen in her official duties. She supports other members of her family from her personal income from the Duchy of Lancaster, using the SSG for travel support. The Prince of Wales supports himself and his immediate family with his personal income from the Duchy of Cornwall – so £18 million seems to be a figure plucked out of the air. The Duke of Edinburgh receives a Parliamentary annuity each year, but he is the only one to receive money.
Laughably, the report includes a page with this statistic over a picture of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie – neither of whom are working Royals. Eugenie currently works for Paddle8, but is to return to the UK shortly, and Beatrice worked full time in the finance sector until 6 months ago.
The report also claims “the cost of the monarchy is more than NHS England spent on the Cancer Drugs Fund last year” playing on people’s fears of the disease to support their idea that the Royal Family are a waste of money.
£30.6 million is said to have been spent on the Palaces and buildings that the Royals use – when in fact The Queen pays for all utility bills for Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and last year this came to £3.4 million, as well as £13.3 million on repairs and maintenance of buildings that make up our national heritage. Their figure seems to stem from what they think should be paid in rent – when these buildings always have almost always been used by the Royal Family, and are held in trust for the nation.
Again, a core part of Republic’s argument is the cost of security for the Royal Family, which is not disclosed in the Royal Finance report, because the Palace do not fund this from the SSG. They forget to mention however, that no other Head of State includes this cost in their reports either.
The way Republic calculated the cost to local councils for Royal visits forms a large part of their inflated figure. The group multiplied the total number of engagements The Queen performed by the money that a council reportedly spent on refurbishments prior to the Royal visit. But The Queen conducts a large proportion, over half, in fact, of her official work in London, or at a Royal residence (Investitures, receptions etc). So this too, in an overly exorbitant figure.
In the report, figures are given for European Royal Families – but they do not subject them to the same costings as they have to our Royal Family. In 2012, it was found by research at the University of Ghent that it was the Dutch Royal Family who were the most expensive, since they earn a salary (our Queen does not) and are exempted from tax on their governmental stipends.
The figure reported for 2011 was £183m, increasing to £200m by 2012. It was in 2014 that Republic decided on a figure of £300m, settling on a further increase to £334m this year. This, numerically, is an 82% increase in the cost, according to Republic.
A report from The Crown Chronicles into Royal finance today has shown that the cost of the British Monarchy is exceeded by the income they bring to the country in tourism, as well as the money from the Crown Estate.
The SSG has, in fact, stayed steady these past few years: £34.7 million in 2012 when the SSG replaced the Civil List, and £35.7 million in both 2013 and 2014.
Once again, Republic get it wrong, having to manipulate the facts for them to form an argument. Republicanism in the UK has never peaked above 20%, with support for the Monarchy remaining steady at over 75% for decades.
Feature photo: roger harris, Polaris