Crisis forces Spanish royals to tighten belts
Spain's royals will lower the salaries of top staff and trim spending on official occasions after their budget was cut in the midst of an economic crisis, an official said Thursday.
In a severe austerity budget for 2012, the Spanish government cut the amount allocated to King Juan Carlos's royal household by 170,000 euros, or two percent, to 8.264 million euros (by $223,000 to $10.9 million).
"The sections which could be cut are personnel expenses and protocol," said a palace official.
Salary cuts would mostly affect the top 11 staff on the palace payroll, the official said.
"The aim is to have a cut that is fairly shared out, so that the top officials with the highest salaries have the biggest cut and we try not to touch the most basic, smaller salaries," the official said.
The palace also planned to cut spending on official occasions such as the October 12 national holiday marking Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, when the king presides over a military parade.
Payments from the Spanish state to members of the royal family themselves are not affected in principle, the official said, but this had not been ruled out.
The palace was also working with other ministries seeking other ways to save money, such as on security.
Once the government's budget is approved by parliament in May or June, the palace is expected announce a final decision on how it has decided to spread the cuts.
Spain's conservative Popular Party government announced on March 30 a 2012 budget with spending cuts and tax increases amounting to 27.3 billion euros as it battled to trim a swollen public deficit.
In December last year, the royals revealed their detailed income for the first time, showing the king received a salary plus expenses of 292,752 euros in 2011.
The 74-year-old king's state grant of 140,519 euros was supplemented by 152,233 euros to cover expenses for official duties, said the accounts, published on the royals' website http://www.casareal.com.
Prince Felipe, 44, who is married to former television news presenter Princess Letizia, had half of that figure, which would be 70,260 euros in a state grant and 76,117 euros in expenses.
All top salaries including those of the royal family were cut by 15 percent in 2010 and frozen in 2011.
© 2012 AFP