To the great surprise of absolutely no-one, the Queen is to get a bumper pay rise of 20% next year to £36 million after her property holdings, the Crown Estate, posted a record profit of £240.2 million today.
Under a new deal hammered out with the government last year, the Queen now gets 15% of the profits generated by the Crown Estate – which is the biggest landowner in the UK and also owns the seabed, a handy asset in the era of offshore windfarms - rather than a set grant which was known as the civil list.
This was intended to ensure that the Queen’s pay rose and fell in line with the health of the nation, but, with Britain stuck in recession and massive cutbacks being applied to public spending across the board, the Queen’s big uptick in income is sure to provoke howls of outrage across the UK today.
“It's a great set of results and I'm sure everyone's going to be happy,” Crown Estate Chief Executive Alison Nimmo said.
We’re not so convinced. Just today, the head of the UK civil service said that budget cuts to austerity-wracked Britan could continue for another ten years.
The Queen has been paid by taxpayers through an allowance set by Parliament and via other government grants since King George III ceded all property profits to the Treasury in 1760.
Used mainly to pay the Royal household's staff as well as for items like laundry, stationery and official functions, her 2013-14 pay will be the highest since 2008 though still less than half of her 1991 pay of 77.3 million pounds.
The Crown Estate, which owns a mix of wind farms, retail parks and most of Britain's seabed in addition to its central London properties, outperformed the industry's Investment Property Databank (IPD) benchmark index due to strong international interest in the London property market and the country's growing dependency on renewable energy.
The value of its property portfolio rose 7.4 percent to 7.6 billion pounds from the previous year.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement reading: “The Royal Household is absolutely committed to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer, having already reduced expenditure by a fifth over five years. The Sovereign Grant is a simpler, more transparent way of funding the Monarchy and is, of course, now open to scrutiny by the National Audit Office.”
Hmmm. That one might need a bit more work too.