Articles

Increase in Cost for Taxpayers to Support the British Royal Family

In economics/money, Foreign Affairs, History on June 27, 2008 by Editor Z


A new report on the British Royal Family’s finances states that the cost to British tax payers to maintain the British royal family has increased.

According to the findings the cost of supporting Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family now is about $80 million, that is an increase from two years ago. The average Brit has to pay 66 pence a person, which translates into the equivalent of $1.32 per tax payer, that is more than in 2006 when the cost of supporting the royal family was 62 pence, or $1.26. a modest increase of six cents a person, but a rise nonetheless.

CNN:

The total cost of the Queen and royal family was 40 pounds ($80 million) in the past fiscal year, an increase of 2 percent from the year before, according to the Royal Public Finance Report.

The man in charge of managing the Queen’s financial affairs said she has tried to keep costs down, pointing out that the Queen’s expenses are more than 3 percent lower in real terms than they were in 2001.

‘The reduction in the amount of head of state expenditure in real terms reflects the continuous attention the royal household pays to obtaining the best value for money in all areas of expenditure,” said Alan Reid, whose official title is “Keeper of the Privy Purse.”

Funding for property maintenance at the royal palaces increased by almost 1 million pounds ($2 million) from the year before to 15.3 million pounds ($30.6 million), but it will stay at that level for the next three years, the palace said.

MY TAKE: I know that the British royal family probably means a great deal to the British. It is a long piece of their government that goes back centuries. In Great Britain, the Queen who is at present the head of the Windsor family in Great Britain is the head of state, much like a president is in many other countries that have both a president and a prime minister, although the amount of power that each head of state posses and the duties that their office dispenses with vary depending on the country. The Prime Minister however, in such a government structure, performs the task of head of government and governing.

Having said that, to many Americans the British royal family can just seem like a throwback to the more monarchical times of centuries past, and a pack of free loaders that has devolved into little more than a well-spring of gossip for Brits and people all over the world. One could joke that in America, we have Hollywood to perform that function.

The idea of the entire country pooling a share of their taxes, so that a small elite who descended to live in opulence and elegant palaces with royal titles, seems absurd. But hey, in the United States Hollywood studios and television networks pay enormous salaries to actors, record companies do the same for recording artists, professional athletes make millions, and many a CEO and inheritance babies (i.e Paris Hilton) get large amounts of money while receiving enormous tax breaks for contributing scantly if at all to the further advancement of society. So in my opinion, we have little room to mock them for propping up a small wealthy elite when we do the exact same thing here in the United States.

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