UK: `Royal Family braced for cut in govt funding`

The British Queen and her Royal Family are braced for a substantial cut in their funding from the government, a media report said.

Updated: May 08, 2011, 23:35 PM IST

London: The British Queen and her Royal Family are braced for a substantial cut in their funding from the government, a media report said.

Ministers are planning to use a shake-up in royal finances to reduce the amount the family receives every year from the British government, `The Sunday Telegraph` quoted Treasury sources as saying.

According to the sources, the Ministers are planning for the Queen and her family to lose a significant amount of their 39.9 million pounds annual income. The royal family`s spending is currently steady at 36 million pounds.

The sources said that the royal household would be subject to spending cuts "of the order" of those to be imposed across Whitehall. Overall, Whitehall spending is to be cut by 8.3 percent over the next five years.

"The royal family is a tremendous asset to this country and it is important they are properly funded. However, they would no doubt be the first to realise these are tough times and families all over the country are having to make sacrifices," Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative MP and a member of the Commons public accounts committee, said.

A coalition source said: "We need to reach a realistic settlement here. If the royal family is treated in the same way as a government department, what better proof is
there that we really are all in this together?"

The cut in annual funds that the Queen receives from the Exchequer is being drawn up by the Treasury, which has been in prolonged negotiations with Buckingham Palace over reforms to the system of funding the monarchy.

However, precise details of the percentage, which is likely to be capped, are being negotiated. An agreement will be published later this year in the form of a Bill to be voted on by MPs and peers, the report said.

Buckingham Palace has welcomed the new system, saying that it will be more efficient as the Monarch will be able to decide whether to spend the money on travel, wages, or repairs, rather than adhering to the precise allocations.

A royal source said: "The Bill is still being drafted and negotiations are ongoing to get a settlement that is acceptable to both parties. Of course everyone, including the Queen, is aware of the straitened times that we live in."

However, another royal aide added: "There is no question of the Queen or other senior members of the Royal family scaling back their official duties. But in order to be cost effective, it is likely that more scheduled train and plane services will be used."