MPs urge the Queen to cut her costs

MPs have called on the Queen to live according to her means after an investigation by The Independent revealed that Buckingham Palace was facing a cash crisis over the costs of her staff and palaces.

Secret talks between the Government and the Queen's advisers have failed to release more money to increase the £7.9m Civil List, which pays for the monarch's public functions, or offer to settle a £32m bill for maintenance of the state palaces.

But two senior members of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee said yesterday that, rather than cave in to palace demands, ministers should make the Queen cut her costs.

Ian Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow South West, said: "At a time when so many of her subjects are facing financial hardship, and when public servants are being restricted in their pay awards, it's absurd for one of the wealthiest women in the world to ask for additional taxpayers' money." Austin Mitchell, Labour MP for Grimsby, echoed Mr Davidson's sentiments and called on the royal finances to be publicly audited like government departments.

Robert Hazell, professor of government and the constitution at University College London, said: "There's a tendency to blame, especially among the political class, the Royal Family for their extravagant lifestyle. But this is wholly unfair as it is all under the control of the Government. It is true that, through Parliament, we get the monarchy we voted for."