The annual accounts of the British monarchy have just been revealed, showing British taxpayers just how much of their hard-earned money goes on covering the royal’s travel and housing costs.
The royal accounts, which were published on Thursday morning, showed that taxpayer-funded spending had increased by £14.9 million, or 17%, in the last financial year whilst UK GDP fell.
Official royal travel costs came to £4.5 million and utilities to £3.2 million, whilst housekeeping and hospitality costs came to a total of £1.3 million – an increase of 55% in a year.
The monarch’s annual payroll bill amounted to £23.7 million, whilst Prince Charles’s tax bill came to £5.9 million and the cost of official travel for William and Kate’s controversial Caribbean tour added up to £226,383.
The accounts also revealed that Prince Charles’s annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall landed estate, which includes approximately 53,300 hectares of land, over 600 residential lettings and more than 700 agricultural tenancies, increased from £20.4 million to £23 million.
Graham Smith, chief executive of Campaign group Republic spoke damningly of the figures, drawing attention to the country’s spiralling cost of living emergency which is leaving many to make the choice between heating or eating as a result of very little government support.
He told Wales Online: “As always, while the rest of us face a cost-of-living crisis and continued squeezes on public services, the royals walk off with hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”
“We need to put the monarchy on a proper budgetary footing, just like any other public body. We need to slash that budget down to below £10m, and only fund what’s required for the functions of the head of state.”
Meanwhile Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, suggested that Buckingham Palace was also facing some challenges itself due to inflation in the aftermath of the pandemic.
He said: “looking ahead, with the Sovereign Grant likely to be flat in the next couple of years, inflationary pressures on operating costs and our ability to grow supplementary income likely to be constrained in the short term, we will continue to deliver against our plans and manage these impacts through our own efforts and efficiencies”.
Some key figures from the 2020-2021 royal accounts:
£86.3 million – The total taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, made up of £51.8 million for the “core” funding and an extra £34.5 million for the reservicing of Buckingham Palace.
9.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Buckingham Palace, compared to 8.5% in 2020-21. The target was 10%.
10.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Clarence House.
13.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Kensington Palace.
£102.4 million – Official expenditure by the monarchy – a rise of £14.9 million or 17% from £87.5 million in 2020/2021.
£1.29 – Cost per person in the UK of funding the total Sovereign Grant.
£1.3 million– Cost of housekeeping and hospitality for the royal household – an increase of half a million or 55%.
491– Full-time equivalent staff paid for from the Sovereign Grant, with the wage bill coming to £23.7 million.
£63.9 million – Spending on property maintenance – up £14.4 million or 29% from £49.5 million in 2020-21.
201 – Official engagements carried out by the Queen in the last financial year – 88 more than the 113 she undertook in 2020-2021 during the pandemic.
Almost 2,300 – Official engagements by the royals in the UK and overseas, compared to 1,470 last year.
£138,457 – Charles’s travel costs for trip to Barbados to mark country’s transition to a republic
£4.4 million – The Prince of Wales’s bill for the Cambridges’ activities, plus Charles’s other expenditure including his capital expenditure and transfer to reserves. Charles no longer pays for the Sussexes.
£1.2 million – Decrease in this bill over two years since 2019-2020 when Harry and Meghan were full-time working royals.
£23 million – Charles’s annual private income from the Duchy of Cornwall landed estate, up from £20.4 million in 2020-21.
Feature image – The Royal Family
New stations appear across Manchester for city’s rentable ‘Burnham bike’ scheme
The roll-out of Greater Manchester’s Bee Bike cycle hire scheme has stepped up a gear, with new docking stations appearing across the city centre.
The scheme, nicknamed the ‘Burnham bikes’ as a nod to London’s ‘Boris bikes’, initially launched in Salford and along the Oxford Road corridor.
Several new yellow stations have appeared around Manchester now, with plenty more on the way.
The next phase of the roll-out of the Bee Bikes has seen stations installed around St Peter’s Square and Manchester Central.
By the time the scheme is complete, bike numbers will increase to 1,500, which will include 300 e-bikes.
It’s all part of the vision for a Bee Network – a joined-up, integrated public transport network across the region.
And it’s certainly off to a more successful start than Mobike, which famously withdrew from Manchester due to high levels of vandalism and theft.
The Bee Bikes are funded by TgGM and operated by Beryl, which runs similar schemes in London, Watford and Bournemouth.
Richard Nickson, programme director, Cycling and Walking at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “The cycle hire scheme has really taken off in Greater Manchester since it was first introduced, and we are seeing significant numbers of riders and distances travelled by on the bikes- which is fantastic, particularly as we are still in the early days of the scheme’s roll out.
“The next phase of the roll-out has now started in Manchester city centre, with new stations installed at key locations including Manchester Central Library, Manchester Central Convention Centre and St Peter’s Square.
Manchester is OFFICIALLY in the running to host Eurovision
The potential host cities for Eurovision 2023 have been announced this morning – and Manchester is officially in with a chance.
The UK has stepped in to host the global singing contest in place of this year’s winners, Ukraine.
As our nation was runner-up this year with Sam Ryder’s Spaceman giving us our biggest success in years, it’s over to the UK to welcome all the countries taking part.
Cities have been announcing their bids for several weeks, with 20 expressions of interest to host sent in.
But it’s a complicated event, so those who wish to host need to actually have a suitable venue and the financial contribution too, and demonstrate that they will celebrate and honour Ukrainian culture and artists.
The shortlist of seven cities has just been announced live on BBC Radio Two, on Zoe Ball’s breakfast show.
The full shortlist for the cities that may host Eurovision in 2023:
If Manchester is successful, Eurovision will take place at the AO Arena in the city centre, Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig has announced.
She said: “We are thrilled to have made it through to the next stage to become the 2023 Eurovision host city.
“Manchester stands ready to put on the biggest party in the UK at the city’s AO Arena, taking our place in Eurovision’s unique history.
“We have a large and proud Ukrainian community in Manchester. It would be our privilege to host this iconic celebration on their behalf and we will do everything we can to honour them throughout.”
“We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023,” said Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor.
“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s Contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event.”
The final decision will be based on scoring criteria from the BBC and the EBU.
It’s expected that the host city will officially be announced in the autumn.