Prince of Wales ‘extremely conscious’ of cost-of-living crisis – as royals spend extra £14.9m
A Royal source has claimed that the Prince of Wales is “extremely conscious” of the cost-of-living crisis affecting the nation – as the Royal Family spent an extra £14.9 million in the last financial year.
Royal accounts published on Thursday showed the monarchy’s taxpayer-funded spending came to £102.4 million during 2021/22 – an increase of 17%.
Official royal travel amounted to £4.5 million, housekeeping and hospitality to £1.3 million, utilities £3.2 million and payroll costs £23.7 million.
Property maintenance soared by £14.4 million to £63.9 million, as the 10-year project to renovate Buckingham Palace continued.
Campaign group Republic lambasted the figures, with chief executive Graham Smith saying: “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.”
He added: “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.”
But a royal source said that Prince Charles was taking a very close interest in how inflation and the cost-of-living problems were impacting people, particularly the Duchy of Cornwall’s tenants, and their welfare.
Charles has spent time with farmers “sitting around the farmhouse table” discussing the challenges while visiting Duchy districts to work out ways to help them, the source said.
“He wants to hear from them, what is their lived experience, so we can see what we can do to try to help them, support them along the way because to roll the question into a wider point about the living crisis, the family are extremely conscious of this – the Prince of Wales is paying very close attention to this indeed,” the source added.
Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, argued that Buckingham Palace was facing a squeeze itself following the pandemic and due to inflation.
“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,” he said.
Its supplementary income from the Royal Collection Trust was £9.9 million in 2021/22, which is 50% below pre-pandemic levels, with the figure not expected to rebound until two or three years’ time.
Efficiencies within the royal household have included a pay freeze and a recruitment freeze, with a close eye being kept on energy use, ahead of the expected rise in energy costs, they said.
A senior royal source said: “It goes without saying, in terms of the environmental credentials, that not only are we looking at consumption, but also we have an eye on – in terms of the cost of living – one of the big increases that is coming and is happening now is utilities.
“So we’re looking very much at how we can be innovative in reducing consumption and consequentially as a by-product reducing costs as well to ensure that we can live within and operate within the funding envelope that we are anticipating.”
How much do the Royals cost?
Here are some of the key figures from the royal accounts for 2020-2021:
£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.
£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.
77p – Cost per person of the “core” part of the Sovereign Grant for official duties – not including funds for the long-term Buckingham Palace works.
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.
£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.
491– Full-time equivalent staff paid for from the Sovereign Grant, with the wage bill coming to £23.7 million.
£1.3 million– Cost of housekeeping and hospitality for the royal household – an increase of half a million or 55%.
£4.5million – Cost of official royal travel, a rise of £1.2 million or around 41% from £3.2 million the previous year.
£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.
£3.3 million – Charles’s non-official expenditure for himself and his family including salary costs of personal staff and a proportion of costs of gardeners and estate workers and the cost of Highgrove and Birkhall.
£107,000 – Official costs of Charles’s London office and official residence Clarence House.
£5.9 million – Charles’s tax bill.
£226,383 – Cost of official travel for William and Kate’s controversial Caribbean tour.
£138,457 – Charles’s travel costs for trip to Barbados to mark country’s transition to a republic.
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