Queen of England and Head of the Commonwealth, Elizabeth II is set to receive a pay hike, clocking at £76.1 million ($97 million) to help renovate Buckingham Palace, reported AFP. In 2016, the Queen received £42.8 million ($54.6 million) from the state as tax-free income. Reportedly, the 78 per cent hike in payment was announced in view of the impending renovations of the palace. And the sovereign grant is believed to stay at the elevated level for next 10 years.
The facelift of Buckingham Palace is proposed to improve visitors’ access and replace wiring and pipes that are over 60 years old. According to royal accounts, the monarchy’s expenditure was £56.8 million ($72.2 million) in the financial year 2016-17, out of which £42.8 million was state sponsored, and £14.9 million was self-generated.
“In 2016-17 the sovereign grant equated to a cost of 65 pence per person in the United Kingdom – the price of a first-class stamp,” said Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, as reported by AFP.
The Crown owns prime real estate, farms and coastlines, and the income generated from them goes to the UK government’s coffer and out of which the crown gets a certain amount to spend on various engagements and property maintenance, official travel, housekeeping and hospitality.
“The activities of the wider royal family are vital in bringing the monarchy into direct and personal contact with all sections of society,” said Reid. “We can expect to see other members of the royal family doing even more to support the queen in the years ahead.”
Last year, the royal family carried out more than 3,000 official engagements and undertook 65 visits abroad. Queen Elizabeth’s husband Philip carried out 196 engagements. Prince Philip, 96, is retiring from royal duties this year.
However, Royal sources, as reported by AFP, revealed that members of the family frequently travel in business class rather than first class, depending on the circumstances, as part of cost-cutting measures.
In 2016, Republic, a grassroots movement in Britain, announced it will campaign to hold a referendum on the future of the British monarchy after the Queen’s death. It also claimed the British monarchy is not the “harmless tourist attraction but it has a history of abusing public money and meddling in politics.