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How much does the British monarchy cost taxpayers?

Even if you're not interested in the British Royal Family, you can't ignore their influence on our way of life. The Windsors are not just an institution. They're the cornerstone of British culture. They're a marketer's dream because they continue to attract attention to the UK. The influence they have on the country's tourist industry is unprecedented, and the amount of media attention they generate for the UK is also overwhelming. Thankfully, the Sovereign Grant is only paid out to members of the inner circle of the family.

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Sovereign Grant accounts

In 2020, UK taxpayers paid more than ever towards the Royal Family's upkeep. The latest set of accounts show that £69.4 million was spent in 2020. That's £2 million more than the year before, and it represents an increase of £27.5 million over five years. That money covers the cost of travelling for official duties, the cost of staffing and maintenance charges for the upkeep of the properties. A lot of work is being undertaken at Buckingham Palace. That's the reason the figure was higher than ever before in 2020. A 10-year renovation plan includes rewiring, changes to the pipework and the removal of asbestos. New lifts will also be installed to assist disabled visitors. The British public isn't putting up the £69.4 million. A percentage of the profits from the Crown Estate is used to create that fund. But the Sovereign Grant isn't used to cover the massive security cost of protecting the family's major members.

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Security

Anyone who saw Harry and Meghan's interview will be aware that the major issue Harry has with his family is that his protection was cut when he and his wife decided to step back from their royal duties. If you were unaware that security is paid for by public money, you might have felt sympathetic to Harry's plight. The simple fact is that although Harry and Meghan's lives remain at risk, their security isn't covered by royal protection command. Royalty and Specialist Protection is a directorate of London's Metropolitan Police Service. As such, it's public-funded. That means every additional officer covering a royal wedding or every extra hour of overtime paid to officers covering royal events is paid for by the public. Part of that is cover by council tax, but the government funds the majority through taxes, including income tax and money collected through VAT. For security reasons, the government doesn't release details of the amount paid out or where it is spent.

The Crown Estate

On other websites, you'll read that the royal household costs UK taxpayers £1.04 per person per year. That's a simple calculation of the £69.4 million handed out in the Sovereign Grant divided by the 66.65 million people living in the UK at the moment. The problem with that statistics is that the Sovereign Grant is 25 per cent of the Crown Estate's profits, and the public doesn't own the Crown Estate. The Queen doesn't own the Crown Estate either. This set up means the Crown and the government share the profits. The Crown runs the estate and makes the decisions, but 75 per cent of its profits go into the public pot. You could argue the monarchy doesn't cost taxpayers a penny and that they actually contributed £277 million through earnings from the Crown Estate.

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