Taxpayers make pounds 94m from royal property
Crown Estate profits: Record results for the owner of Pall Mall and a large chunk of Regent Street
Thursday 04 July 1996
And for once, the biggest winners will be not be shareholders, but taxpayers.
Under the terms of a deal struck with a cash-strapped King George III in 1760, the monarch agreed to hand over the entire revenue surplus of the Crown Estate in return for the Civil List.
It is a constitutional settlement the monarchy has lived to regret. Payments under the Civil List currently cost the nation pounds 7.9m a year, whereas the Crown Estate will hand over a cheque to the Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, for pounds 94.6m, 11.5 per cent more than a year ago.
According to Christopher Howes, the Crown Estate's chief executive, the upkeep of the Royal Family, including head of state expenses, costs about pounds 50m a year, "substantially less than our surplus".
The value of the Crown Estate's core property holdings, which also include almost 210,000 acres of agricultural land, Scottish fish farms and a retail park at Altrincham in Cheshire, rose a tenth to pounds 2.2bn. "These excellent results undoubtedly position the Crown Estate right at the forefront of the UK's leading property investment companies," said Sir Denys Henderson, the former boss of ICI and Zeneca, who took over as chairman in August.
The Crown Estate has increased its revenue surplus every year for the past decade, showing strong growth right through the recession when many property companies plunged into loss. Mr Howes forecasts that the revenue surplus will break through the pounds 100m barrier in the year to March 1997.
Mr Howes attributed its success to the discipline of having no borrowing powers. Unlike the Church Commissioners, which lost hundreds of millions financing development with debt, the Crown Estate can only invest with cash raised from asset sales.
The Crown Estate courted controversy last year when it became embroiled in a row over the felling of ancient oak and lime trees in Windsor Great Park.
The felling of oaks in Queen Anne's Ride was halted after representations to Buckingham Palace from conservationists and protests from local councils, residents and activists who camped in tree-houses.
Prince Philip later approved plans for restoring the park avenue, preserving 20 trees he had originally intended to cut down.
After conducting a review of plans for restoring the three-mile-long avenue, first planted in the 1720s, the Crown Estate decided that the oldest oaks which survived the chainsaws would be preserved.
The Crown Estate also owns over half the UK's foreshore and almost all of the seabed out to the 12-mile territorial limit. Mr Howes admitted that dealing with the recently privatised water companies and port authorities had forced the Crown Estate to adopt a more commercial approach, but he dismissed suggestions that the Crown Estate itself might one day be privatised.
The annual report, also published yesterday, revealed that Mr Howes' pay, including performance-related bonuses, rose to pounds 135,237 from pounds 103,982. He also received a pounds 13,297 terminal bonus on the expiry of his contract. A new, two-year contract was subsequently signed.
Mr Howes defended his salary package. "I'm not a fat cat," he said. "In fact I'm rather a thin one."
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...