Queen won’t foot the bill

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Alan Wright bends the truth in his reply (Echo Letters, November 28) to my questioning of the Government’s decision to foot the £369million bill for repairs to Buckingham Palace.

He asserts that the Queen herself will foot the bill.

If only that were the case, say I, or even if the bill was to be part paid by the Monarch.

He refers to the monies coming from Crown Estate profits. Since 1760, when King George III accepted he was no longer entitled to income from the Crown Estate following his agreement with Parliament that he was no longer to govern in person, Crown Estate monies are essentially government monies.

Indeed, the Crown Estate is formally accountable to the UK Parliament and an annual report is forwarded to the House of Commons.

The Sovereign Grant Act 2011 introduced the Sovereign Grant, a payment which is paid annually to the Monarch by the Government and which since 2012 when the first payment was made was set at 15% of the Crown Estate’s profit.

Mr Wright’s reference to the Queen paying 85% tax on her income is wholly wrong since Crown Estate profits are not her income but the Government’s.

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family do have private income, notably the Prince of Wales and the profits from his Duchy of Cornwall.

The fact of the matter remains, in these times of austerity, when the Government is seeking to reduce the welfare bill, amongst other austerity measures, the Conservative Government has agreed to increase welfare payments to the Monarch through the agreement to foot the £369million repair bill to Buckingham Palace.

Mr Wright does make one interesting point in his letter, however, his reference to the £4billion (!) repair bill for the Houses of Parliament that will be funded by the taxpayer.

Might I suggest that the Conservative Party, with Mr Wright’s support I would anticipate, follows its core belief in privatisation and privatise the Houses of Parliament?

Sell the buildings to the highest bidder, in other words.

They will probably end up in Chinese or other foreign hands – but that has never worried the Conservatives with past privatisations.

The monies could then be used to build new Houses of Parliament for less at a more economical and central location within the UK, such as Birmingham, Manchester or York?

That sounds like a win-win to me.

Rod Hepplewhite,

Sunderland