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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Spending on the Queen rises
Royal train
The Royal Train faced the axe, after criticism over its cost
Spending of taxpayers' money on the Queen rose in the last financial year due partly to her Golden Jubilee celebrations, royal finance reports reveal.

Spending rose by 2p per head of population, according to the accounts published on Thursday by Buckingham Palace.

The spending increase was put down to the extra costs of the Queen's 50th anniversary celebrations and put total spending on the monarch up to 36.2m.

The reports also reveals that the Royal Train - criticised in the past by some MPs - has been reprieved.

Taking inflation into account, the cost per head of the population is still that of a loaf of bread
Alan Reid, the Queen's Keeper of the Privy Purse

Once facing the end of the line, the train - which cost taxpayers 872,000 in the last financial year - will continue in royal service, following a review.

It comes despite criticism by members of the public accounts committee, who thought it too expensive and under used.

Alan Reid, the Queen's Keeper of the Privy Purse said: "Cost alone was not the only factor we considered."

'High quality operation'

"The ages of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh - 77 and 82 respectively - was a consideration.

"Also the need for secure accommodation, a travelling office and reliability were taken into account."

He said the nine-coach train would probably have a further life of 15 years.

The finance reports show it cost 60p per person in Britain to finance the Queen's official duties as Head of State.

Spending increased by 2.5% last financial year by 900,000, to give a total 36.2m.

Royal travel cost 4.94m, for 2,600 official engagements, of which 414 journeys cost 500 or more.

Buckingham Palace said it strived to achieve a "high quality operation" while retaining value for money.

Mr Reid said: "Efficiency in terms of value for money are important.

"However, it is not necessarily our aim to have the cheapest monarchy possible - quality is also important.

"Taking inflation into account, the cost per head of the population is still that of a loaf of bread."

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