Queen To Get 5% Pay Rise

The Queen is to receive an inflation-busting 5 per cent ‘pay rise’ next year, giving her an annual income of £37.9million. Palace officials admit that the timing of the announcement, which coincides with yet another round of Government belt-tightening, is ‘not ideal’. But they insist that the country still boasts a ‘value for money monarchy’ that costs each person in the country just 52.5p per year. According to detailed annual royal accounts released yesterday, the Queen was given £900,000 extra from the public purse in 2012/13, a 2.6 per cent increase. That enabled her annual spending to rise from £32.4million to £33.3million. Until last year the monarch was funded by a complicated combination of civil list payments and government grants.Following an extensive government review of royal finances, she now receives one single pot of money known as the Sovereign Grant to spend largely as she wishes. It is taken from the Crown Estate, a wealthy portfolio of agricultural land, buildings and property – ranging from a retail park in Liverpool to London’s Regent Street and Ascot racecourse – which has historically belonged to the monarchy but the profits of which have, since the reign of George III, gone to the Treasury. As a result of protracted and sometimes combative negotiations with Downing Street, the monarch is now, for the first time in several hundred years, entitled to keep 15 per cent of its profits with the rest going to the Treasury. The first year was set at £31million, which included a Diamond Jubilee ‘bonus’, with the palace using £2.3 million from its own savings to fund other celebratory events. Yesterday the Crown Estate announced record revenue of £253million. Its entire holdings are now worth £8.1billion, suggesting even greater rises in income for the monarchy in years to come. They set out details of spending in the 2012-13 financial year – one of the Queen’s busiest and most high profile in recent times. She celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in June, before playing a key role in the London Olympics – including appearing in a film at the Opening Ceremony where she appeared to parachute into the Olympic Stadium. The cost to the taxpayer of supporting the monarchy rose by just under £1 million to £33.3 million during the Diamond Jubilee year, Buckingham Palace accounts showed today.The Queen’s official expenditure increased by £900,000 from £32.4 million during the 2011-12 financial year to £33.3 million in 2012-13, according to the royal public finances annual report. The taxpayer funds used to pay for official air and rail travel at home and abroad for members of the Royal Family fell by £500,000 from £5 million in 2011-12 to £4.5 million in 2012-13. Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse – the Queen’s chief ‘money man’ – yesterday welcomed the extra cash, but insisted that most of it would be spent on a ‘massive backlog’ of repairs to royal palaces, which the Queen holds in trust on behalf of the nation. Despite £9.1million spent on the upkeep of royal residences and other buildings last year, Buckingham Palace has long complained of having to put off millions of pounds worth of essential maintenance because of real-terms falls in funding. Buckets are frequently used to catch water leaks in the picture gallery while none of the state rooms, regularly used for entertaining dignitaries and foreign heads of state, has been decorated or rewired in more than 60 years. ‘We have a massive backlog of property repairs that we need to get cracking on,’ said Sir Alan. He also revealed that the palace badly needed to overhaul its IT system which was still running on Office 2003 – ‘although you probably all think we are using Office 1497 the way we work around here,’ he joked. Dailymail