11 per cent increase in Prince of Wales funding

 

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The Independent Online

The Prince of Wales's funding from the taxpayer increased by 11 per cent during the last financial year, official accounts showed today.

Charles's income from grants-in-aid and Government departments rose from £1,962,000 to £2,194,000, an increase of £232,000 during 2011/12.

He also saw his private funding from the Duchy of Cornwall - the landed estate given to the heir to the throne to provide him or her with an income - go up by 3 per cent to £18.3 million.

The Prince's tax bill rose marginally from £4,398,000 to £4,496,000, an increase of £98,000.

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall travelled almost 48,000 miles to and from official engagements at home and abroad.

Spending on official travel by air and rail came to £1,318,000 - up £238,000, or 22 per cent, from the previous financial year.

The accounts cover the Duchess of Cambridge's first full year as a member of the Royal Family but the increased cost was described as "fairly marginal" by a royal source.

Charles, through his private Duchy income, funds the much of the official work of his sons, William and Harry, and wife Camilla.

It is thought very little extra outlay has been needed for Kate since her wedding at Westminster Abbey in April last year.

Any additional costs to the taxpayer for the new member of Royal Family would have been incurred under grants-in-aid, which pay for official travel by rail and air, communication support and the upkeep of Clarence House.

There has also been no need to find additional property for the Duchess and any increases in press office staff have been minimal.

Kate has ignited huge interest in the British monarchy and her choice of outfits has made her a fashion-leader.

There has been speculation that she spends tens of thousands on dresses for official functions but a breakdown of her clothing costs was not included in the accounts released today, only coming under expenditure for official duties and charitable activities - £9,831,000 up from £9,444,000.

Charles, as the groom's father, contributed towards the costs of the royal wedding, along with the Queen and Kate's parents, Michael and Carole Middleton.

It is believed the money provided by the families ran into the low hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This figure has also not been released but is included in the accounts under the unofficial expenditure costs which totalled £2,609,000, up from £2,539,000 the previous year.

The full-time equivalent of 134.9 members of staff were employed to support Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry at the end of March, up from 132.8 in 2010/11.

The Cambridges and Harry have the equivalent of nine full-time staff, up from 7.8 the previous financial year.

Kate does not have a dresser and the royal brothers do not have butlers or valets but use those who work for Charles when needed. Most of the trio's staff are communication and office workers.

Spending on official travel paid for through grant-in-aid from the Government rose during the financial year from £1.1 million to £1.3 million.

Clarence House said there were a number of reasons for the rise: "The increase was due to several factors, including, more overseas visits by the Prince and the Duchess, more overseas visits by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and by Prince Harry, longer distances travelled during those visits, and the inclusion in the latest financial year of part of the costs of a spring tour in 2011 to Portugal, Spain and Morocco."

Charles and Camilla toured Norway, Sweden and Denmark in March, and last autumn visited South Africa and Tanzania, while Charles visited Kuwait and Qatar.

William and Kate embarked on their first tour as a married couple last summer, visiting Canada, while Harry carried out a Diamond Jubilee tour to the Caribbean in March.

The accounts listed the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the past financial year, a figure which covered everything from office and domestic energy use to Charles' organic Home Farm at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire estate.

The total was 4,782 tonnes, up from 4,127, and within this figure CO2 emissions for official overseas travel were up from 438 tonnes to 1,206 tonnes, almost a threefold increase.

These emissions are offset through the Government Carbon Offset Fund.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the campaigning group Republic, called for the Government to bring royal spending under proper control.

He said: "At a time when the country is facing sweeping cuts to public spending, Charles Windsor wilfully helps himself to whatever travel funds he wants or feel he needs.

"This 'something-for-nothing' culture in the Royal Household must end. Where the Government requests a royal makes an official trip the costs must be met directly by the relevant department.

"All other royal travel should be paid for by the Royal Family. Charles must not be free to spend whatever public money he likes when he likes."

PA

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