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Windfarm windfall set to spark debate about funding of UK monarchy | Monarchy

The royal household stands to learn from an enormous windfall from the growth in offshore power, doubtlessly sparking a debate about funding the monarchy.

The Treasury has confirmed that an official evaluate of the sovereign grant, which stands at £86.3ma yr, is ongoing and is anticipated to return into impact from April subsequent yr. Officers say they need to make sure the funding is at “acceptable” ranges.

Public finance for the royal family is paid as a hard and fast proportion of earnings from the crown property, the group that manages the crown’s public lands, together with coastal and marine property. These earnings at the moment are anticipated to rise considerably due to the drive by power firms to harness wind energy.

A Whitehall supply stated: “The evaluate will take account of great further revenues that the crown property expects to obtain from the following section of offshore wind developments – forecast to be a number of hundred million kilos every year whereas these initiatives are in growth.”

The crown property owns just about all the seabed across the UK to a distance of 12 nautical miles. The worth of its marine portfolio is now price £5bn, pushed largely by demand for seabed leases for windfarms.

As chancellor George Osborne introduced a reform of public funding of the monarchy in 2011, changing the civil listing with the sovereign grant.

The primary such grant in 2012-13 was £31m to pay employees prices, official journey and royal family bills. However the core grant for these prices had elevated to £51.8m by 2021-22, with a further £34.5m for works at Buckingham Palace.

The monarchy advantages from what has been described as a “golden ratchet” clause beneath these preparations, during which the sum of money can solely be elevated every year or keep on the similar degree. A minimize within the grant would require a change within the regulation. The evaluate is carried out by the royal trustees, who’re the prime minister, the chancellor and the keeper of the privy purse.

The royal family initially obtained 15% of the earnings of the crown property beneath the sovereign grant preparations, however this was elevated to 25% from 2017-18 to pay for Buckingham Palace renovations.

The ten-year “reservicing” works will price an estimated £369m and can exchange 100 miles {of electrical} cabling, 6,500 electrical sockets and 20 miles of skirting boards.

It was anticipated that the royal family would proceed to obtain 25% of crown property earnings till the challenge is accomplished, which is anticipated to be in 2026-27. However this may occasionally now be re-examined within the mild of extra anticipated earnings on the crown property.

Royal duties are additionally funded by earnings from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall. The Duchy of Lancaster is a personal property owned by the monarch. It covers 18,481 hectares (45,667 acres), most of which is in northern England. Its holdings embody quarries within the Excessive Peak areas of Derbyshire, an airfield in Staffordshire and the Goathland property in North Yorkshire, the placement for the Hogsmeade station within the first Harry Potter movie.

The duchy has web property of £652m and delivered earnings of £24m within the yr to 31 March 2022. It has been largely used to fund the late Queen’s official duties, however tax is paid on revenue not used for royal duties.

The Duchy of Cornwall covers 52,449 hectares of land in 20 counties, most within the south-west of England. Its holdings vary from many of the Isles of Scilly and huge tracts of farmland in Cornwall to Dartmoor Jail in Devon and the Oval cricket floor in south London. It has web property of greater than £1bn and delivered earnings of greater than £23m within the yr to 31 March 2022.

The duchies are exempt from company tax. King Charles may also not pay inheritance tax in a “sovereign to sovereign” exemption agreed by Prime Minister John Main in 1993.

The writer David McClure, who died in June, found a revealing HM Treasury memo in researching his guide on the royal funds, The Queen’s True Price. The be aware, contained in a cache of papers masking a 1989 evaluate of the civil listing, acknowledged: “The state offers for the monarchy in two methods: first by means of specific finance and secondly by foregoing tax on the sovereign’s non-public wealth.

“In follow it ought to be famous that immunity from taxation has enabled the federal government to pay a small civil listing confined to particular official points and thus hold the entire problem of financing the monarchy in a reasonably decrease key than would in any other case be the case.”

The main target by the royal family on worth for cash and a smaller variety of royals on frontline duties might now result in recent scrutiny of the funding preparations.

Norman Baker, the previous Liberal Democrat MP and writer of And What Do You Do? a guide on the royal household, stated he had written to the Nationwide Audit Workplace and the Commons public accounts committee calling for a wide-ranging evaluate of the funding preparations. He stated: “Their cash can keep as it’s or go up. It might probably by no means go down. It is acquired a lot better for them as a result of they’re benefiting from the cash from windfarms.”

King Charles is anticipated to evaluate the huge property portfolio of the royal household. The royal family web site lists 22 residences, together with Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace and Windsor Citadel. Sandringham and Balmoral in Scotland are privately owned.

Charles and the Queen Consort have a mansion at Birkhall on the Balmoral property. He additionally has a home in Carmarthenshire in Wales, which has adjoining cottages for lease. The King can be reported to have bought a five-bedroom house in Romania in 2006 as an remoted vacation retreat.

The crown property additionally leases the Royal Lodge at Windsor to Prince Andrew and close by Bagshot Park to Prince Edward. Princess Anne lives at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, which is privately owned.

In his guide, McClure estimated the monarch’s non-public wealth at about £400m. The property held within the identify of the crown are price a number of billions of kilos.

The Treasury declined to touch upon the evaluate of the sovereign grant.

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