The royal family takes in rental receipts from shops in London’s Regent Street, alongside malls and retail parks around the country – but the value of its portfolio has fallen by more than £500m since the pandemic hit.
The Treasury said it would provide the estate with extra money to meet any shortfall in profits and make sure the Queen’s sovereign grant remains at its current level.
“In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate’s profits, the sovereign grant is set at the same level as the previous year,” a spokesperson said told The Independent.
“The revenue from the Crown Estate helps pay for our vital public services – over the last 10 years it has returned a total of £2.8bn to the Exchequer. The sovereign grant funds the official business of the monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family.”
More details on the next sovereign grant are expected to be set out on Friday – but legislation governing the formula prevents the overall amount given to the Queen from ever being allowed to fall.
Graham Smith, of the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic, described it as a “golden ratchet”, adding: “Once the grant goes up it can never come down, and the taxpayer loses out.”
Robert Palmer, the head of Tax Justice UK, added: “This royal bailout will be tough to stomach for people who love the Queen but have lost their jobs and businesses during the pandemic.”
Any profits made by the Crown Estate are passed to the Treasury which, in turn, hands 25 per cent of the profits back to the Queen through the sovereign grant.
However, the Crown Estate announced last week a fall in the value of its rental portfolio by £55m to £13.4bn – a drop of 1.2 per cent.
An agreement with the Treasury means the estate has begun making “staggered” revenue payments to the government.
Dan Labbad, the Crown Estate’s chief executive, said: “The current economic and market disruption has led us to take the precaution, with the agreement of the Treasury, of implementing a staged process for the payment of the whole of our net revenue profit.”
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