Cost of funding British queen falls by £1.8 mn: accounts

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The cost to the British taxpayer of funding Queen Elizabeth II fell by £1.8 million ($2.9 million, two million euros) in the past year, her accounts showed Monday.

The queen's official expenditure for 2010-11 was £32.1 million, according to the accounts covering the British tax year, which ended in April.

The figure represents a reduction of 5.3 percent on an amount of £33.9 million the previous year, and were calculated using a new formula that changes the way the royal family is funded by the government.

The new system will see funding for the monarch directly linked to profits from the Crown Estate -- the property owned by the sovereign.

Alan Reid, a royal official in charge of the queen's finances, said the head of state was trying to reduce her outgoings as her subjects begin to feel the effects of huge cuts to public spending.

"The queen is very keen that the royal household should continue to reduce its expenditure in line with public expenditure reductions," Reid said in a statement.

"The decrease in expenditure is due mainly to increased income generation, the deferral of property maintenance expenditure and the implementation of a pay freeze. This pay freeze will continue onto this year."

The cost of property services fell from £15.4 million to £11.9 million in the past year, the figures showed, but royal travel costs rose from £3.9 million to £6 million.

The accounts include an official grant paid to the monarch, maintenance of the royal palaces and the cost of most royal travel.

However, they exclude some expenditure such as the cost of the queen carrying out official duties, which are met directly by the government and Crown Estate.

The new funding system, approved by lawmakers last week, is known as the Sovereign Grant and will come into force in 2013-2014. It still has to pass scrutiny by parliament's upper house.

A spokeswoman told AFP it was appropriate to report under the new system as it was due to come into effect in the near future.

© 2011 AFP

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