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Queen's cost to British taxpayer rises slightly

  • 2 Jul 2012
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LONDON (AFP)
£32.3 mn in 2011-12, up just £200,000

The cost of the British monarchy to the taxpayer rose slightly during the last financial year, Buckingham Palace accounts showed on Monday.

Queen Elizabeth II cost the public purse £32.3 million ($50.6 million, 40.0 million euros) in 2011-12, a rise of £200,000, or 0.6 percent, from the last financial year.

The royal family's travel costs rose by £100,000 to £6.1 million, the annual royal public finances report revealed, while upkeep of royal properties rose from £11.9 million to £12.2 million.

But the cost of the Buckingham Palace press office, which maintains the royal website, fell from £500,000 to £400,000.

Funding for the royal household known as the "Civil List", much of which is used to pay the queen's staff, fell by £100,000 from £13.7 million to £13.6 million.

Buckingham Palace said spending had decreased by 26 percent in real terms in three years, reflecting wider government targets to cut public expenditure by 25 percent over four years as it battles to cut Britain's huge deficit.

"When the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his plans for the public expenditure to reduce by 25 percent in real terms over a four-year period, the Queen was very keen that the Royal Household should play its part in reducing its expenditure accordingly," said Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse.

"We are pleased to report that we have achieved this reduction a year ahead of the public expenditure target."

Reid added that celebrations for the queen's diamond jubilee will require the royal family to dip into its reserves in the next financial year, which began in April.

Britain held four days of huge public celebrations last month to mark the queen's 60th year on the throne, including a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace and a 1,000-boat pageant on the River Thames.

The BBC paid for the production of the concert while private donations funded the river pageant, but it is not yet known how much the celebrations have cost the taxpayer.

The 85-year-old queen and her husband Prince Philip have been touring Britain since March as part of celebrations to mark her 60th years on the throne, while other royals are travelling the globe, from Canada to Tuvalu.

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