Taxpayer ripoff or bargain? The cost of the British royal family
As King Charles III’s coronation approaches, the British monarchy once again finds itself under public scrutiny for the amount of money it costs taxpayers each year. The Sovereign Grant, a fixed annual payment of £86.3 million, covers most of the expenses of the royal family, including payroll costs, property maintenance, and travel expenses. However, critics argue that the true cost of the monarchy is much higher and estimate it to be £345 million per year. Despite this controversy, the royal family continues to enjoy significant personal wealth and exemptions from taxes that are unavailable to other constitutional monarchies in Europe.
The Sovereign Grant: A Fixed Annual Payment
The Sovereign Grant, formerly known as the Civil List, is a fixed annual payment given to the royal family by the British government. It is 25% of the profits from the Crown Estate, which generates most of its income from properties that belong to the monarchy but cannot be bought or sold. The Crown Estate is independently managed by a board approved by the monarch, and most of the revenue generated by it goes towards public services such as hospitals and police stations. The Sovereign Grant pays for property maintenance, payroll costs, travel expenses, events, and functions.
Critics Argue That The True Cost Of The Monarchy Is Much Higher
The true cost of the British monarchy is hotly debated, with critics estimating it to be £345 million per year. This figure takes into account the additional costs of security for the royal family, the indirect costs of tax exemptions, and other benefits that the monarchy enjoys. For example, the monarch and his or her heirs are exempt from inheritance taxes, which means that their wealth is passed on to their descendants tax-free. Critics argue that these tax exemptions are not fair and contribute to the high cost of the monarchy.
The Royal Family Enjoys Considerable Personal Wealth
The royal family also enjoys considerable personal wealth in the form of private art and jewellery collections and income from two property portfolios known as the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall. Queen Elizabeth II, for example, is estimated to be worth billions of pounds. Although the monarch voluntarily pays taxes on the income from his or her private estate, critics argue that the royal family should pay taxes on all their wealth like every other citizen.
- The Sovereign Grant was increased from 15% to 25% of the profits from the Crown Estate in 2017-2018.
- Buckingham Palace’s ongoing refurbishment drove up spending to £102.4 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
- The UK is currently facing one of Europe’s worst cost-of-living crises.
- The monarch’s properties cannot be bought or sold and are independently managed by a board approved by the monarch.
The true cost of the British monarchy is a matter of controversy, with critics arguing that the Sovereign Grant vastly underestimates the actual burden on taxpayers. Although the monarchy brings in tourism revenues, some question whether the cost is worth it, particularly in light of the UK’s current economic challenges.
As King Charles III ascends to the throne, the British monarchy remains a focal point of public debate. Although the Sovereign Grant provides a fixed annual payment that covers most of the expenses of the royal family, critics argue that the true cost is much higher and that the monarchy enjoys considerable personal wealth and tax exemptions that are unavailable to other constitutional monarchies in Europe. The controversy over the cost of the monarchy shows no signs of abating, and the public will continue to debate whether the benefits of having a royal family are worth the expense.