Royal family 'cost 62p per person'

The Queen and the Royal Family cost the taxpayer 62p per person per year, Buckingham Palace accounts revealed today.

The total cost of keeping the monarchy in the last financial year rose by 4.2 per cent to £37.4 million, royal accountants said.

The increase was partly due to the cost of extra security vetting at the royal residence in the wake of a national newspaper journalist who managed to get a job as a footman at Buckingham Palace and also several other attempts by the media to gain access.

It was also attributed to freedom of information inquiries and the cost of a number of long-haul overseas visits by members of the Royal Family.

Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: "Given this is a World Cup year, 62p would buy you a ticket for one minute of England's game against Portugal on Saturday."

Mr Reid also said that more money was needed to maintain the royal palaces.

"If we're going to maintain historic buildings that we're responsible for, we will need more money. We will putting more pressure on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport."

The household receives £15 million annually for running the palaces, but said the figure was set in 1998 and is only reviewed every three years.

Senior officials said they would be asking for £1 million more, plus inflation.

The mausoleum at Windsor was said to be the site most in need of restoration, amounting to £2 million.

A senior aide added of other residences: "There was also asbestos which needs clearing all over and a two-acre lead roof at Windsor Castle which we've been patching that needs work.

"The quadrangle at Buckingham Palace. It needs to be completely cleared up."

He added that the Picture Gallery roof needs to be replaced. The spokesman said: "That will last but we're patching it rather than doing a proper job."

He said they understood the Government's position, but added: "It wouldn't take a huge amount of their budget to put us on a solid footing."

The cost of the Royal Family per person, now at 62p per year, rose from last year when it was calculated at 61p. The cost of royal travel rose by 10 per cent to £5.5 million.

During the year, the Royal Family made 14 journeys on the royal train compared to 19 in 2004/05. They made 48 journeys by scheduled rail.

The annual accounts disclosed that a consultant had been appointed to look at the royal train and that some initial savings had been identified.

Among the journeys detailed in the financial report was a reconnaissance trip by staff from Clarence House for the Prince of Wales's visit to the USA which cost £44,885.

In contrast, a reconnaissance trip by Buckingham Palace staff to Australia and Singapore ahead of the Queen's official visit cost £15,085.

A senior aide at the Palace said: "As far as the Prince of Wales's trip was concerned, it was a very complicated trip. There were a lot of different interests related to the engagement he was carrying out."

The report revealed that over the next five years it would not be possible to carry out significant projects with a construction cost of £800,000 or more due to funding constraints.

It said that this meant the work on the Victoria and Albert Mausoleum would not be included in building plans.

Aides said the site was in the process of being listed as a building at risk by English Heritage.

The Prince of Wales revealed earlier this week how much tax he paid last year, but accountants for the Queen said there were no plans to do the same for the monarch.

One spokesman said: "We take a strong view that the Queen's private finances are, like any other individual, private and she is entitled to have her privacy."

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