Buckingham Palace accounts reveal cost of royal family

5th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The royal family cost Britain's taxpayers 38.2 million pounds (46.1 million euros, 57.8 million dollars) in the last financial year, according to accounts released by Buckingham Palace Monday.

The figure, which represents 62 pence per person, was released with Britain facing deep public spending cuts as the new coalition government led by David Cameron bids to cut the country's record budget deficit.

Officials insisted that the royal household, which includes Queen Elizabeth II and her family, were "acutely aware of the difficult economic climate" and had taken action including freezing the number of employees.

The figure for 2009-10 represents a 7.9 percent drop on the previous year, a fall attributed in part to royals taking fewer commercial charter flights.

But opponents of the monarchy are demonstrating outside the palace Monday to demand more clarity on how the royals spend public money.

"We'll be demanding real transparency and accountability from the palace, so we can really see how much public money they are wasting at a time when government spending is under the pressure of huge cuts," Graham Smith of campaign group Republic said.

"Royal finance reforms promised by the government are a start, but they don't go far enough or quick enough."

Finance minister George Osborne announced in last month's emergency budget that the royal household would face a funding shake-up and in future undergo the same audit scrutiny as other areas of government expenditure.

© 2010 AFP

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