London: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is Britain parliament’s most powerful watchdog is expected to launch a historic inquiry later this year into the finances of the Queen and the Royal Family.
The Queen’s closest aides are now facing the prospect of a historic public grilling by members of Parliament (MP) about whether the Royal Family is providing value for taxpayers’ money, the Independent reports.
This follows a change in the law, which, for the first time, gives MPs oversight of royal finances, it further reported.
Such an inquiry will cause consternation in Buckingham Palace because of the committee’s frightening reputation for lambasting civil servants and government departments if it deems they have misused public funds, the paper said.
The PAC, chaired by the former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, will decide on the scope of any inquiry after the National Audit Office is granted access to the Queen’s finances next month.
Auditors will produce a report on their findings, which will then be scrutinised by the committee who will decide whether to call palace officials to give evidence, but committee sources indicated that this was likely to happen.
A source said Hodge wants to do it but obviously it’s got to be a decision of the whole committee. Austin Mitchell, a Labour MP who sits on the committee, said she favors the inquiry, as it is not intrusive and it is about ensuring that the public is getting good value for money.
Among the areas the committee is expected to examine are transport costs including the Royal Train and the Royal Flight, as well as money spent on official entertaining and the upkeep of palaces.