Prince Charles' public funding rises: figures

28th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Prince Charles saw his taxpayer funding increase by nearly 18 percent in the past year as his subjects were tightening their belts due to harsh austerity measures, figures showed Tuesday.

The heir to the throne's income from the government rose 17.9 percent from £1.66 million ($2.66 million, 1.86 million euros) in 2009-10 to £1.96 million in the past year, according to his official accounts.

Much of the expense covered travel costs with Charles and his wife Camilla travelling 34,000 miles (54,700 kilometres) to and from official engagements, including more than 14,000 miles on overseas trips.

Spending on the royal couple's travel by air and rail jumped 56 percent in 2010-11 to £1.08 million, despite having travelled 8,600 fewer miles than the previous year, say the figures covering the British tax year which ends in April.

Charles and Camilla visited Portugal, Spain and Morocco in March and April and toured India last October after Charles opened the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Michael Peat, the prince's principal private secretary, said costs were lower in 2009-10 as the longest journey, to Canada, was paid for by the Canadian government.

At the same time Charles's private earnings from the Duchy of Cornwall, his estate in southwest England, went up by nearly four percent to £17.7 million -- although his tax bill rose 26.2 percent to £4.4 million.

His personal spending, which is not funded by the public, rose 50 percent to £2.5 million, partly to cover the marriage of his son Prince William to Catherine in April but mainly because Charles increased his donations to charity.

The jump in public funding for the prince immediately drew criticism at a time the British government is pushing through deep cuts to public sector spending which will lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses.

Britain's main anti-monarchy group, Republic, called for a parliamentary investigation into the increased costs.

"Charles's spending is spiralling out of control," said Republic spokesman Graham Smith.

"Why on earth are taxpayers continuing to fund his lavish lifestyle when public services are being cut?"

© 2011 AFP

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