Queen urged to reduce Civil List

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Indy Politics
THE ROYAL Family yesterday faced fresh calls for reductions to the Civil List and for the Queen to pay income tax, as John Major met the monarch at Balmoral, writes Nicholas Timmins.

Downing Street refused to comment on whether the issues were raised, saying the meeting was private. But Robert Sheldon, chairman of the powerful cross-party Public Accounts Committee, said that the issues were now so prominent that for the Prime Minister not to raise them 'would be regarded as a breach of his duty to the Queen herself'.

Senior Conservatives called for changes to the Civil List. Michael Ancram, the Devizes MP and chairman of the party's backbench constitutional committee, said it should be concentrated on the Queen and the heir to the throne, and exclude the minor royals.

Mr Ancram said it was 'important that the problems are settled quickly by the Royal Family themselves in such a way that they minimise the damage they can do to the value of monarchy'.

Mr Sheldon, whose committee discovered in the summer that it could not investigate the Civil List payments without a specific decision by the Commons to reopen the issue, said the Queen herself could tackle the questions of taxation and who was covered by the Civil List.

The pounds 98m 10-year settlement of the Civil List made in 1990 allowed for a 7.5 per cent annual rise in inflation. 'The Queen herself can concede that inflation being rather different from what was anticipated in 1990, there need to be certain adjustments, and she can volunteer adjustments,' he said on BBC Radio's The World This Weekend. Without such action, 'there could be . . .demands for a much greater investigation of the role of the monarchy'.

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