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King asks for Crown Estate wind farm profits to be used for public good

19 Jan 2023 4 minute read
King Charles Photo Danny Lawson – Windfarm photo Ben Birchall PA Images

The King has asked for profits from a £1 billion-a-year Crown Estate wind farm deal to be used for the “wider public good” rather than as a funding boost for the monarchy.

Under the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which is currently £86.3 million a year, the King receives 25% of the Crown Estate’s annual surplus, which includes an extra 10% for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.

Six new offshore wind energy lease agreements, announced by the Crown Estate on Thursday, have generated a major windfall for the Estate, which would usually lead to a jump in the monarchy’s official funding.

But Charles, who highlighted the cost-of-living crisis in his Christmas message, has requested that the extra funds “be directed for wider public good”, instead of to the Sovereign Grant, at a time when many are facing financial hardship.

It is not clear as to the exact amount of taxpayer funding the King has passed up and asked to be used for public good, but it is likely to be many millions.

The Crown Estate – an ancient portfolio of land and property – belongs to the reigning monarch ‘in right of The Crown’ but it is not their private property.

The monarch surrenders the revenue from the Estate – more than £312 million a year – to the Treasury each year for the benefit of the nation’s finances, in exchange for the Sovereign Grant.

The King’s Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Stevens, who manages the royal household’s finances, has contacted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – his fellow Royal Trustees – to ask for “an appropriate reduction” in the percentage of Crown Estate profits used for the Sovereign Grant.

Windfall

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “In view of the offshore energy windfall, the Keeper of the Privy Purse has written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor to share the King’s wish that this windfall be directed for wider public good, rather than to the Sovereign Grant, through an appropriate reduction in the proportion of Crown Estate surplus that funds the Sovereign Grant.”

The Sovereign Grant is based on funds two years in arrears, so any boost in Crown Estate profits and new percentage arrangements would not impact the grant until 2024-2025.

The King used his first Christmas broadcast last month to sympathise with families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and praise individuals, charities and faith groups supporting those in need.

He spoke about the “great anxiety and hardship” experienced by many trying to “pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm” during his televised message, which featured footage of a food bank and other scenes of meals being distributed to the homeless.

The Sovereign Grant covers the running costs of the royal household and events such as official receptions, investitures and garden parties.

The percentage increased from 15% to 25% in 2017 to cover the cost of a 10-year programme of £369 million’s worth of repairs at the Palace.

Profits

The Grant goes up if Crown Estate profits increase, but it does not fall when they decrease.

The capital value of the portfolio is more than £15 billion.

The Crown Estate confirmed on Thursday it had signed lease agreements for six offshore wind projects which have the potential to power more than 7 million homes.

Three of the six projects are located off the North Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire coast, and three are located in the North Sea off the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast.

Together they will pay around £1 billion to the Crown Estate every year.

Gus Jaspert, managing director, marine, at The Crown Estate, said: “Today marks a significant milestone for the UK on the road to net zero, unlocking green energy potential for more than seven million homes and demonstrating to the world that the UK offshore wind industry is growing at pace to help meet the climate challenge.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

The ‘public good’ and he gave it to who exactly, Sunak and Hunt!

I hope they explained Pro Bono Publico to the pair but it may be a concept too far, given the Tunbridge Wells revelation…

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

The same as Scottish oil and gas has been used to keep the people of england!! Huh!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
13 days ago

Yes, for the public good so hand control of the Welsh Crown Estates to the Welsh government for use in Wales only. Parity with Scotland.

notimejeff
notimejeff
13 days ago

A pack of lies from the Palace, all to make Charles look like a good guy.. The income belongs entirely to the Treasury, it’s not his to dispose of. The Sovereign Grant is paid from general taxation not from the CE. It would be paid whatever the income from the CE. This is all smoke and mirrors by the dishonest, corrupt Palace.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

Old Charles should hand back the Crown Estate to the people of Wales not cynically try curry favour with the public & country he ignored for 42+ years as Prince because the Monarchy is struggling by offering crumbs while keeping the three lionshare of our money, which I might add, is made from land stolen by England. It’s like a squatter charging the homeowner rent, then offering a rebate expecting cap doffing gratitude?

Frank
Frank
13 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

“hand it back”!!!!! Do you mean “hand back stolen property”? Everything they’ve got has a dodgy history. They don’t own anything that is legitimate.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Indeed. And there should be no pussyfooting around. We should not ask but take back those Crown Estate lands stolen by the English crown. #Ours 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

“for the good of” 58,000,000 English and 10,000,000 Welsh, Scots and Irish combined. How would the Sais have ever survived without stealing?

Tim
Tim
13 days ago

In Scotland, unlike Wales, the Crown Estate is devolved. How good of the King to give money away on a whim when it belongs to Wales. Let us take back what is rightfully ours.

Last edited 13 days ago by Tim
Stephen Mahoney
Stephen Mahoney
13 days ago

A PR stunt by multibillionaire Mr Windsor, requesting the proceeds of an unexpected windfall that he has contributed nothing to by his own merit or endeavour be retained by the UK treasury, he hasn’t offered to remove the royal claim to crown estate income, just decline the income from the current round of auction lease options. He deserves no credit, no praise, his parasitical accumulation of undeserved wealth will continue.as normal elsewhere.

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