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My2Pence
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« Reply #360 on: November 27, 2015, 03:02:18 pm »

Maybe it is time for the BRF to realize that the sovereign doesn't need four homes (two official, two "private").  Or does she have more than that?

Has it ever been proven that tax money *isn't* used by HM for Sandringham and Balmoral? Those are privately-owned homes. The staff, security, and upkeep should all be paid privately, no matter how complicated it makes the accounting. It was stated that over $1 million in tax money went to Anmer Hall in the last couple years, but that was quickly covered up. How much more Crown Estate money has been poured into upgrades and security at Anne's Gatcombe?

If they are private residences on private property, no tax dollars should go for the upkeep and security on those properties. The BRF has plenty of private money to fund those properties, they should be required to use it.
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Rosella
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« Reply #361 on: November 27, 2015, 03:44:37 pm »

^^The Sovereign Grant isn't 'tax money'. It's an arrangement between Treasury and the monarch derived from the Crown Estates profits each year. Every penny is accounted for and the Sovereign Grant cannot be used on the Queen's private homes. If it was it would be shown in the Estimates. The Sovereign Grant is used to help maintain Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and Clarence House. It has nothing to do with Balmoral or Birkhall or Sandringham.
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My2Pence
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« Reply #362 on: November 27, 2015, 03:53:39 pm »

It is money that goes to the royals that comes from property that rightfully belongs to the people. In my shorthand, that is "tax money".  When the royals go, they don't get to take the Crown Estates with them.

These are people who improperly-used that money for so long a crumbling piece of Buckingham Palace nearly killed Anne.  Personally, I'm not going to trust what they reveal publicly about their expenditures. They didn't get where they are, and don't stay in power, but being squeaky clean.

Crown Estate money was used to fix up Anne's private residence/property prior to her marriage.  It was also used to fix up Anmer Hall, which has since been covered up.

Has there ever been an honest look into how that money is being spent? My guess is no. People believe the figures that are put forward, even when there is evidence to prove those figures aren't honest.
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« Reply #363 on: November 27, 2015, 09:15:37 pm »

If Anne was nearly killed by a crumbling piece of Buckingham Palace, I would say that the money isn't being used by the RF as it should. With all that income from the Duchy coming in and of course, the Duchy of Lancaster, Civil List, etc., Buck House should be in excellent condition and should have wonderful art.

Maybe it is time for the BRF to realize that the sovereign doesn't need four homes (two official, two "private").  Or does she have more than that?

Has it ever been proven that tax money *isn't* used by HM for Sandringham and Balmoral? Those are privately-owned homes. The staff, security, and upkeep should all be paid privately, no matter how complicated it makes the accounting. It was stated that over $1 million in tax money went to Anmer Hall in the last couple years, but that was quickly covered up. How much more Crown Estate money has been poured into upgrades and security at Anne's Gatcombe?

If they are private residences on private property, no tax dollars should go for the upkeep and security on those properties. The BRF has plenty of private money to fund those properties, they should be required to use it.

I do know an audit is desperately needed; I do bet HM is using public money for private purposes and I do believe that something is wrong when Buckingham Palace is in crumbling disrepair and the Cambridge Cupcakes get three kitchens and endless renovations at KP. When Windsor Castle burned, HM wanted the public to pay and basically she was forced by the public to pay up and HM even set up tours to defray costs, as if she couldn't easily afford repairs.
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« Reply #364 on: November 27, 2015, 10:28:58 pm »

^^ There is a Comptroller and Auditor General who reports to Parliament each year on how the Sovereign Grant's money has been expended over the previous twelve months.

 The link below shows the annual report for 2013, and under Contents you can see where in the report the Auditor General has gone over the expenses and signed off on it, giving his stamp of approval.

 I don't think the Sovereign Grant was in existence when Windsor Castle burned down and the repairs cost many millions stretching over years, so other measures had to be taken. Each year there are dozens of repairs needed to all the major inhabited palaces, which belong to the nation not to the royal family. These repairs are made in order of urgency and need. The monarch doesn't personally supervise which repairs are to be done and when.

This is the annual Report in full for 2013.

 https://www.royal.gov.uk/pdf/Sovereign%20Grant%20201314.pdf
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My2Pence
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« Reply #365 on: November 28, 2015, 12:10:53 am »

When they have enough for £4.5+ million just for Apartment 1A of Kensington (plus millions from Duchy money for decorating), but they've allowed £150million in needed repairs to pile up at Buck House, someone isn't doing their job. And someone isn't auditing and monitoring properly. No matter what reports are filed.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3136795/150m-repairs-force-leave-Palace-Surveyors-say-Queen-s-residence-needs-toe-overhaul-years-neglect.html




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Rosella
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« Reply #366 on: November 28, 2015, 12:30:49 am »

 Many of these buildings are ancient and need constant on-going repairs year-in and year-out. It's not just a question of 'fix this and the whole palace will be good for the next twenty years' with these places. In most cases it won't.

 There is no sign that the Queen or her family have used Sovereign Grant money to overhaul Anmer, Balmoral or Sandringham, their private homes. Kensington Palace is an inhabited Palace and as such comes under the appropriate funding through the Sovereign Grant.

The Auditor General is appointed by Parliament and is completely independent of the Royal Family. There's no indication at all that he is incompetent or in the monarch's pocket. The whole business is transparent and a report (after being approved by the Auditor General) placed before Parliament each year to be debated. I can't see that there can be any closer investigation than that.

As Meememe and the Daily Fail article have indicated, the real fault lies with decades of underfunding for these buildings before the Sovereign Grant came into existence.
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« Reply #367 on: November 28, 2015, 03:15:05 am »

Decades of underfunding? Yes, the palaces need constant updates, constant maintenance, but I do believe that PMs should start asking questions about just how HM can afford renovations for WK, but Buck House has not gotten some kind of significant overhaul. The RF buys estates, houses, endless horses and many other perks that are enjoyed. Each royal has dozens of houses and staff, but the major places, where they are supposed to live, are crumbling. They could hire experts to figure out the exact areas that need to be worked on and then get to it.
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« Reply #368 on: November 28, 2015, 04:48:00 am »

 The Queen has bought no estates, she just has the two that have been in the family since the Prince Consort bought them in the 19th century. Prince Charles's Duchy money is completely different. The Queen's Comptroller/Treasurer is questioned by Committe MP's in the House of Commons quite regularly.

This article below is from 2008 and refers to the freeze in funding. The repair for these houses and Palaces, which belong to the nation, would have to be paid for, even in a republic, unless they're all going to be pulled down.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/2206106/Queen-refused-government-grant-because-of-2012-Olympic-Games.html
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meememe
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« Reply #369 on: November 28, 2015, 08:49:02 am »

BP is state owned and so the funding for its repairs have to come from the owners - the state.

In return for having to live there (and the Queen didn't want to move in in 1952) she works constantly for the state - without actually receiving any salary.

The Sovereign Grant replaced many different areas of funding, including the Civil List.

A bit of history, if I may:

Until George III all the income from the Crown Estate was paid to the monarch from which he was expected to pay a large percentage of the running of the government. This often lead to conflict when the King wanted to fund xxxx to do something but the government didn't want that done. George was also finding it difficult to cover the expenses for those aspects he was expected to fund so he struck a deal with the government of the day - he would hand over the income of the Crown Estate in its entirety to the government who would then use that, and any other money from taxes etc to pay for the running of the government. Instead of two entities paying for different parts of the running of the country there would now be one but ... the government had to pay George a certain amount of money to cover his official expenses.

That was for George III's reign and has been renegotiated at the beginning of each reign.

By the late 1960s the Civil List that The Queen had agreed in 1952 was no longer covering the official duties of the royal family, due to inflation over the previous nearly two decades. That was the first time there had been an increase agreed during the reign of a monarch. By the late 1970s it was needed again as again inflation meant the Civil List was no where near covering expenses. An agreement was made to relook at the Civil List every 5 years which happened until 1997 when Blair froze it at the same figure as was paid in 1992. The next increase was 2012 with the Sovereign Grant.

I don't know about anyone else but what I was paid in 1992 wouldn't cover the same things I was able to but by 2012 (my salary, for instance more than doubled in that time although my actual job didn't - no promotions - just a standard teacher). The BRF however were expected to do the same amount, if not more, on the same money.

Since 1992 the Queen has also been subsidising the Civil List by repaying all monies paid to everyone except herself, Philip and the Queen Mum to the government. So the Duchy of Lancaster has been paying people like Andrew, and the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent and Princess Alexandra the money that before 1992 they had been paid by the government to carry out their duties (that covered things like paying for their official staff etc). As these people have no jobs to use and they are expected to work for the nation it seems only reasonable that they have their expenses for doing their duties paid for by their employers.

Until 2012 there were separate funds to pay for the maintenance of the palaces but that too was frozen at 1992 levels in 1997 when Blair refused to increase any moneys to the parliament - so by 2012 maintenance money was also, in real terms, about half what it had been in 1992. BP was last fully refurnished in the years after WWII and hasn't had a full overhaul ever since. Now the cost to do a proper refurbished has blown out as happens when people don't have enough money to spend on anything more than the basic maintenance expenses.

The Sovereign Grant is set, by legislation, at 15% of the income of the Crown Estate but does have an upper cap. If the income goes down then so too should the Grant although until that happens we won't know for sure. The SG also covers maintenance of the occupied royal palaces and none of it goes on the private estates which are paid for from the personal income - such as the Duchies. I suspect some people don't understand the difference.

The Duchy of Lancaster funds the private lives of The Queen, Philip, and any other members The Queen agrees - so the Gloucesters, Kents, Yorks and Wessexes. Anne has Gatcombe to provide her with an income but she may also receive financial assistance from The Queen - we don't know and just as what ordinary people do with their income what the Queen does with her private income is her business and no one else's. Many people argue that as the Duchies make money from taxpayers the taxpayers have a right to know but that only holds up if you agree that every public/civil servant AND every other landlord in the country has to produce the accounts from their books and justify their spending from taxpayer or tenants' money as well e.g. the Duke of Westminster owns most of Belgravia and makes millions more than The Queen from his private holdings from taxpayers and tenants but no one suggests that his books be opened for public scrutiny.

The Duchy of Cornwall is used to support Charles, Camilla, the Cambridge's and Harry. This is for their private and public lives although duties carried on specifically on behalf of The Queen, such as Harry's current visit to South Africa where he is representing the Queen, will be funded from the Sovereign Grant.
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My2Pence
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« Reply #370 on: November 28, 2015, 09:06:44 pm »

The Duchies are not "personal income" per say. They are lands that rightfully belong to the people. Those are funds whose operations and books should be fully open to the public. 4.5 million last year for W&K plus Harry (not including security costs), yes, someone needs to be looking into those books and setting limits.   How much do their "private lives" really need to be paid?  Is the Duchy money going to pay for Sandringham and Balmoral?  For the staff or security? 

If so, that needs to be audited and stopped. HM chooses to go stay at those private properties, she should be paying all of those costs out of her personal fortune not the Duchy. Ditto Charles. Their public roles do NOT require them to live in those private houses, so those private houses shouldn't be funded with any money that could be seen as public money (Duchies, Sovereign Grant).  I feel the same way about Charles and his investment of Duchy money in Romania (ie. shouldn't be allowed).

Again, if they have 4.5 million to spend updating a mostly-unused portion of Kensington Palace, they should have been required to apply that to more needed repairs.   The asbestos removal that skyrocketed the costs were caused by W&K's ripping apart the original footprint. If they had left it as-is, the asbestos abatement wouldn't have had to be done. Someone should have been watching and telling them what they were NOT allowed to do, instead of letting them run amock destroying the interior of an historic building.

Is anyone doing an active audit of how much money the royal duties truly cost?  Or are they just taking HM's word for it as to how much she needs to pay the working royals to fund their "private lives" and public duties?   When the royals visit anywhere, much of the costs are born by the local community or country. That is why it is so deliberately-difficult to calculate how much these figureheads cost.
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meememe
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« Reply #371 on: November 28, 2015, 11:03:22 pm »

The Duchies were set up, in the middle ages, to give the monarch and the heir to the throne a separate income to fund their private lives rather than have them using the income from the Crown Estates to fund both government business and private lifestyles. The idea was to make it clear what money they could use on their own personal lives and what was to be spent on running the country.

They do not 'rightfully belong to the people' anymore than the property of other landed gentry does such as the Duke of Marlborough's lands which were given to him by a 'grateful nation' for the victory at Blenheim. The income from those lands funds his lifestyle and that land was taken from public lands to be given to him.

The royal duchies are the same - land that was Crown Land (and from 1066 all land in the UK belonged to the monarch who then parcelled it out to his supporters while those who worked the land didn't own it but paid rent for the land they worked. Over time more and more land has been handed over by the monarchs to people who were then able to buy and sell or exchange it but the Crown Land and the Duchies remained in the hands of the monarch until George III handed over the income of the Crown Estates to the government in return for the Civil List to pay for his official duties.

The Duchies are used to fund the private lives e.g. Balmoral and Sandringham and Highgrove are funded from whatever they make themselves plus the duchies, any private activities such as the polo ponies and training is paid from from the Duchies as is Philip's carriage driving activities but the State Opening of Parliament is funded from the Sovereign Grant.

The books of both Duchies are made public annually. Charles has done so since he was in his early 20s (this is how we know that the amount of tax he was paying was halved when he married Diana so he could cover her expenses). The Queen has done so since 1992 when she too started paying tax, officially voluntarily but in her case she really was forced to do so whereas Charles has always done so voluntarily from when he turned 21 and took control of the Cornwall Estate.

The money Charles decides to give William and Harry is his right as a father.

As the BRF receive no salaries for their work for the nation it is only fair that there is some income for their private lives and that is what the Duchies provide them - the money for their private lives which is separate to their public lives which is funded from the SG.

The Duchies pay for their private staff.

Their security is paid from from the police budget at a level determined according to the threat by the experts at doing that - the police and intelligence services.

The work at KP was funded from the SG because it is an occupied royal palace.

Their personal fortunes have been accumulated by good stewardship of the duchies over the generations.

The books of the SG and the Duchies are presented to parliament every year so there is a public accounting happening.
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« Reply #372 on: November 29, 2015, 01:07:54 am »

Times change; the BRF has the ability to invest and make much with their private portfolios; they don't need the Crown Estates income or the Civil List for their royal role. The Crown Estates could be administered by a committee and that could pay for the upkeep of the palaces.
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« Reply #373 on: November 29, 2015, 03:17:19 am »

^^ The Crown Estates are administered by a committee already, headed by the Crown Estate Commissioners. This was set up by Parliament and is completely independent. The Commissioners also present an annual report to Parliament.

The Civil List was abolished in April 2012. The Sovereign Grant money IS needed. As already explained, this Grant covers the out of pocket expenses of royals like the Kents, Wessexes and Gloucesters when they perform Royal engagements. It's also needed for the maintenance and upkeep of inhabited palaces like BP, Windsor and KP.

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meememe
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« Reply #374 on: November 29, 2015, 10:10:49 am »

No SG = no State Visits, no Trooping the Colour, no State Opening of Parliament, no Investitures, no Remembrance Day attendance, no Maundy Thursday, no 1000s of other engagements as it is the Sovereign Grant that covers these things.

No employee is expected to pay the costs associated with doing their job so why should the Queen and the rest of the BRF?
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« Reply #375 on: November 29, 2015, 02:30:11 pm »

Whatever way I look at it, there is no justification for this 7% increase.  HM does not dip into her own pocket at all to run these places, public taxpayer money is used for everything.  Why couldn´t bill medd dip into his own inheritance to do up KP as he so lavishly wanted it done  -  which having said that also came from taxpayer money as it came from chucky and he is taxpayer funded.  There are millions out there dependent on food banks, clothing banks, they are taking away more and more from the poor, yet they can give HM a 7% increase  -  outrageous and unjistified IMO.  The sh*t government the UK has are taking away more and more from the everyday person, yet cameron the pig man can afford to use taxpayer money to kit out a 10 million plane for himself and the royals to use.  Yeah rate, welcome to austerity in the UK  -  but not for the upper classes, they get more and the genral public get less.  It is sadi that HM is worth billions/trillions of pounds, let her use some of her own money.  She might well be the Queen, and "worsk" for her money, but how many workers get a palace to live in, servants and etc, that comes with the job.  She pays for nothing, and yet still the government keep allocating more and more money to her to spend on the rest of her idle family.  Quite frankly she should be ashamed of herself in my view.
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« Reply #376 on: November 29, 2015, 03:59:48 pm »

Cameron is a brown noser always sucking up and trying to earn brownie points.  Still trying to live down his statement about the Queen practically 'purring' down the 'phone to him after the Scottish Referendum.  I was a life long Monarchist and Tory but no longer.
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« Reply #377 on: November 29, 2015, 04:08:39 pm »

Yes, well most of us have a pretty good idea as to how the referendum was "manipulated" shall we say, with many not receiving their voting forms. As for the last general election, there are so many who think it was rigged for cameron´s lot to stay in power  -  to be honest it would not surprise me one bit, my eyes have been opened very widely this last few years re how the rf et al try to fool us into believing untruths  -  I don´t think any of them know the meaning of the words truth and honesty  -  more a case of how can we scam them this time.
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My2Pence
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« Reply #378 on: November 29, 2015, 08:01:30 pm »

The Duchies and Crown Estates were established to fund the instrument of government, which included the monarchy *at the time*.  If the monarchy no longer exists, the Windsors don't walk away with those lands as personal property. That things have gotten so muddled has been deliberate on the part of the royals, IMO.  They want everyone thinking those lands are their personal property. Like Charles's recent proposal to eliminate the Sovereign Grant - in exchange for giving him legal ownership of the Crown Estates? Trying pulling the wool over someone else's eyes.

There need to be annual, external digging through of those books.  In times of "austerity", their profligate spending is not to be tolerated.

Independent contractors are frequently required to fund their own business expenses, everything from phones, internet access, travel, and computers.
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Rosella
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« Reply #379 on: November 29, 2015, 08:40:32 pm »

^ The Duchies and the Crown Estates expenditures are already audited and presented in Parliament each year, open to questioning by MPs as has been pointed out in previous posts. The system can't be more open. The Duchies and the concept of Crown Estates go back to the Middle Ages. A president in a republic would also cost a great deal of money and the historic buildings like Windsor, KP and BP would still have to be funded unless you wish them to be demolished. If you have an argument about how the monarchy is funded you could write to your MPs'.
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