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The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The Queen's accounting team were pleased with their progress at keeping costs down"
 real 56k

The BBC's Clarence Mitchell
"This is the first annual summary of spending"
 real 56k

Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Royal finances laid bare
Royal Family
The Royal Family has made significant savings
The amount spent by the Royal Family has dropped by 3m in the last financial year, according to the first annual breakdown of the cost of the monarchy.

Most of the savings have been made by cutting the amount spent on royal travel, from 8.6m in 1999-00 to 5.4m last year.

With Crown Estate revenue paid to the Treasury, royal insiders say the Queen is now actually contributing more than is spent on the Royal Family.

Royal spending
Council tax - 16,000
Restoring silk tapestries - 29,000
100th birthday cards - 15,000
Telephone bills - 660,000
Water and sewerage - 133,000
Throne room decor - 157,000

The report on royal finances usually comes out every 10 years, but is now being published annually to make the cost of monarchy more transparent and understandable.

Royal spending now stands at 35m, a fall of 58% since 1991-92, when the bill was 83m in today's money.

In comparison, the British Library in London cost taxpayers 85m, the Welsh fourth TV channel cost 77m and the Particle Physics and Research Council in Swindon cost 190m.

Royal reporters were treated to a tour of the basement of Buckingham Palace for a glimpse of the new cost-cutting regime in action.

They were shown a new combined heat and power unit, which saves 200,000 per year in heat and electricity costs.

The report shows that the money given to the monarchy is spent largely on staff costs, upkeep of the palaces and travelling expenses.

Queen 'in credit'

It reveals that while spending on travel has been cut, the cost of some journeys still remain high.

One overnight journey by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Train from London Euston to Bodmin to visit the Royal Cornwall Show, among other engagements, cost 36,474.

But it also shows quirkier expenses, such as the 15,000 the Royal household spends on 100th birthday congratulation cards.

Annual revenue from the Crown Estate has increased by 42m in real terms since 1991-92, to 133m last year.

The Queen surrenders this money to the Exchequer, in return for Parliament agreeing to fund the Civil List and other head of state expenditure.

Personal funds

Only the Queen, Queen Mother and Duke of Edinburgh are paid directly from the Civil List. Payments to other Royal Family members are reimbursed by the Queen from her personal funds.

The Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Peat, said the monarchy effectively costs taxpayers nothing, and is even in credit.

"People are inclined to talk about how much the Queen costs the taxpayer. In fact, the Queen doesn't cost the taxpayer anything," he said.

"The 48m reduction in Head of State expenditure together with the 42m increase in Crown Estate revenue mean that the net annual contribution made by the Queen to the Exchequer has increased by 90m during the last nine years.

"Further significant progress has been made in reducing Head of State expenditure and in achieving the highest standards of disclosure and transparency."

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See also:

28 Jun 01 | Business
Her Majesty: A financial role model?
22 Jun 01 | UK
Royal travel costs slashed
28 Feb 00 | C-D
Civil List
04 Jul 00 | UK
The minted Royals
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