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Last Updated: Monday, 28 June, 2004, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Royal finances: do we get value for money?

Latest figures show the cost of supporting the Royal Family has gone up to nearly 37m a year.

Palace legal bills have increased because of the introduction of tighter confidentiality agreements for all staff.

This has been brought in to prevent members of the royal staff selling their stories to the press.

The accounts showed the cost of the Queen rose by 1p for each person in the country over the year.

Should the Royal Family be financially supported like this? Do we get value for money?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received.

The Queen is one of the most admired leaders in the world
William, New York, USA
Change one thing and you change it all. In the U.S. we watch British politics and it has a civility that we wish we could purchase for 37m a year. The Queen is one of the most admired leaders in the world. It ain't broke so don't "fix it".
William L. Donlon, Rochester, New York, USA

Definitely value for money. The royal family do a great job. How much would any alternative cost? I'm more than happy to pay an extra 1p this year to have Queen Elizabeth II instead of President Blair.
Stephanie Clarke, Cambridge, UK

In a word 'no'. Abolish the monarchy and become a republic - a President would be a lot more democratic and cheaper - we wouldn't have to pay for his or her children, spouse, aunts, uncles and other hangers on.
AJ, Fife, Scotland

This is all thanks to that rag the Mirror. The Royal family still costs us less then 0.75p per taxpayer a year. Lets look at how much the EU costs us each hour and how much of our money is wasted by the UK government.
Clifton Gare-Mogg, England

. We own him and all the Royals because we pay for them
Natalie S, London, UK
37m too much. All this talk of leaving Prince William alone is nonsense. He is our property because we have paid for his life. Throughout university, I cleaned offices and stacked shelves that paid taxes the paid for Prince William to sit on his backside all day and study history of art. He owes me and this country. If he is not going to go and work and support himself and behaves like a parasite, he is our property. We own him and all the Royals because we pay for them. They are an embarrassing scam.
Natalie S, London, UK

I'm sure someone can do a cost benefit analysis on the royal family and calculate the amount they generate for the country. This is simple mathematics, with an answer that comes in at more or less than 37 million.
Rachel, USA (ex UK)

I've never met the queen, I have no idea what she does for me, and the rest of them simply clog up valuable television bandwidth with affairs, family crisis's etc. Is this really worth paying for?
John, Portsmouth, England

What use is all that money to them, when they are virtual prisoners? They can't go to football matches, pop down the pub, go to rock concerts, browse markets and bookshops, shop when they want, go where they want or do what they want in privacy. They must be so unaware of what this world has to offer, they only get edited and officially sanctioned highlights. No amount of money on earth would induce me to swap places with them. It's outdated and cruel to treat human beings in this manner for their entire life. I say Free the Royals!
Rob, London, UK

When you consider that the Queen allows the income from the Crown Estate to be paid to the Treasury and not her, they are massively profitable for us. Fifteen million pounds of the 37m cost is building maintenance that we would have to pay anyway. A replacement president and entourage would make the same state visits and cost at least as much.
Aud, London, UK

What many people forget (conveniently) is that although the Royal Family costs the taxpayer 37m per annum, in the year 2002-3, the taxpayer RECEIVED 130m from the crown estates. Thus the Royal Family contribute nearly 100m a year TO the taxpayer.
Gordon Burgess-Parker, Foxt, Staffordshire

Thirty-seven million pounds is a fraction of the costs run up by a US president
Peter, Nottingham, UK

In return for the 37m civil list, the royals signed over the income from most of the royal estates - several billion a year. The royals DO pay for themselves & then some. Thirty-seven million pounds is a fraction of the costs run up by a US president. Airforce One alone cost millions to keep flying. I think we get an amazing deal.
Peter, Nottingham, UK

I love the Royal Family and believe Charles will make a very good king one day. They should, however, make themselves a little more accessible - but otherwise money well spent.
Anne, Greece

The information I would like to have is how the money is spent. How much of this money can the Royal Family spend of their own discretion? How much is spent on the state's behalf maintaining staff and facilities for things like dinners for visiting heads of state?
Mark, Paignton, UK

...other members of the family should support themselves as the rest of us do
Lady Patricia Webb, Washington, DC, USA

Yes, the monarch and her very immediate family should indeed receive public funding for all of the wonderful work they do for the country. Beyond that, other members of the family should support themselves as the rest of us do.
Lady Patricia Webb, Washington, DC, USA

I think it's time the Royal Family supported themselves and paid taxes etc like everyone else. Either that or keep one as head of state and the rest be abolished all together.
David Balfour, Grangemouth, Scotland

I certainly don't begrudge the Queen an extra few pence per year. Compared to the rises in council tax, income tax and all sorts of indirect taxation, it's trivial. I reckon the senior members of the Royal Family do more for this country than the European Parliament and all its horde of gravy train passengers.
Trevor Barker, Guildford, UK

I do not see the point of using my money to help the Queen with her finances. I am more than willing to spend more than a penny to those who are in need: e.g. people who are on the street, abandoned children. Time to abolish the monarchy
Muhammed Sarwar Ahmed, Chester, UK

We get more value for money out of the royals than we do for any local council in Britain. I'd rather we got rid of them first!
Jonathan, Dalry, Scotland

If it means I never have to hear the words "President Livingstone" it has to be money well spent
Mark K, London, UK

If it means I never have to hear the words "President Livingstone" it has to be money well spent.
Mark K, London, UK

After working out that I spend 500 a year in Starbucks, I think 61p is a very reasonable price to pay for our head of state.
Anthony, London

They bring in more than that in tourism every year - I'd say making money is good value.
Simon, England

Why not? At the end of the day they have the worst jobs. Everybody's bills go up every year anyway so why they should be an exception?
Richard, London

I love the Royal Family but they are on a par with footballers... too much money for not a lot of return.
Charlie, Bedford, UK

YES!! If we had a president we would probably pay the same or even more. Royalty brings in more earnings for this country than it costs us to support it. Can any one picture tourists coming here to see the changing of the presidential guard, or any other presidential ceremonial occasion?? Besides is there something wrong in having a monarchy and being different to many other states???
Clifford Sherry, Ipswich

The problem is with all the hangers-on
Neil Dowsett, Derby

Her Majesty and immediate family are worth every penny. The problem is with all the hangers-on.
Neil Dowsett, Derby

I think it value for money, considering the amount of tourism they bring in alone! Yes, maybe a bit more could be done to cut costs but overall it is about fair.
Nathan B, UK

Quite simply, YES. There are many countries - America and France amongst them - who would love to have a Royal Family. I doubt many people in this country realise just how much hard work the Royals do for this country and the fund raising they do for charities. Cost went up by 1p? Government stealth taxes took a lot more than that from me!
Terry, Epsom, England

Sixty pence each. I think the tourist dollars that are brought in because of the Royals cover this tiny expenditure and another few billion more.
TB, Spain

In my opinion the Royal Family are a bunch of lazy spongers. Why do we keep giving them more money when they already have far more than most people? Value for money? You must be joking!
Peter Benjamin, England

Surely the Royal Family has enough wealth of its own to support itself. 37m could have saved hundreds of lives, put more police on the streets, etc. Given the choice, I'd rather have my 1p back. The royals do nothing but sneer at the 'commoners' in return for this involuntary support anyway. Get rid.
Gareth Rippingale, UK

...when I look at the alternatives (e.g. America) I don't see much to be envious of
Michael, York, UK

Yes, it's undemocratic and expensive, but when I look at the alternatives (e.g. America) I don't see much to be envious of.
Michael, York, UK

Absolute value for money - tourism alone without the royal family the loss of income from tourism would be far higher. The very fact that these confidentiality agreements are needed shows just how much people still want to have, and hear about the royals.
John Alexander, Watford, UK

No we do not. The Royal Family are a thing of the past and should be replaced. Tourists would still come to see the palaces, they do in France and Germany. 37m is such a waste.
Adam , Brussels, Belgium

Can't we just pay for the monarch herself?
Frances, Annecy, France
Paying for Elizabeth II is one thing, but I object to paying for people like Sophie Wessex, who receives a nice salary from the civil list for doing nothing special. Can't we just pay for the monarch herself, and not her husband, children, in-laws, siblings, cousins, and all the rest of them?
Frances, Annecy, France

If the Royals really bring in so much money from tourists, the let the tourist industry sponsor them.
Raymond Bennett, London

Thirty-seven million pounds a year for the Queen is bargain. Three billion pounds for the BBC is an utter insult.
paul, uk

Am I the only one who senses the media hyping up a story out of proportion to its news value? For example, Ceefax yesterday stated 'the cost of Royal legal bills soared by 125,000'. And how much did Face Academy cost to give wannabe pop starts a luxury lifestyle for a year? Somewhat more than 125k a year I think. When you think the TV licence fee probably goes up a pound or two each year thea 1p rise in the cost of the Royal Family is insignificant. Will a similar 'have your say' be run on 'are we getting value from the BBC' net time the licence fee goes up?
Helen, Berkshire

With a republic you have greatly increased levels of bribery, corruption... and general sleaze
Philip Le Roux, Hampshire England
Choice between a rock and a hard place here. With a monarchy you have profligacy, extravagance, free-loaders and hangers-on who at great expense provide no benefit to the country (e.g. Prince Andrew since he left the navy). With a republic you have greatly increased levels of bribery, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and general sleaze. These are typified by President Chirac of France and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Tony Blair has shown he too is of that tendency. Keep the Queen and Prince Philip. Make all the other dubious royal parasites support themselves.
Philip Le Roux, Hampshire England

Of course they are value for money. Think about this... We give the royal family money, they use it to pay all of their staff, purchase items, make trips etc this in turn not only gives a large number of people employment but also returns 30% of the amout back to the government as tax. The remaining amount goes into their bank accounts and therefore into our economy. It doesn't matter who has the money (a monarchy, a president etc), as long as the money is in the banking system then it is no more then a figure on a piece of paper.
Glen, U.K.

Surely the question is not do we get value for money, but do we really still wish to be subjects in the year 2004?!?
Cameron, Scotland

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Q&A: Royal security breach
20 Nov 03  |  UK

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