British Monarchist League
 
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By:
  Thomas J. Muscatello-DeLacroix Mills
  Secretary General, The British Monarchist League


Today Her Majesty delivered a message to the House of Commons outlining a proposal for the new Sovereign Support Grant which would help outline the future funding of the crown. The new Grant would replace the Civil List which would see the crown funded based off of a percentage of the revenue from the Crown Estate. As the Crown Estate is the hereditary possession of the sovereign, Her Majesty therefore has the right to turn the revenue over from these lands to the Commons, for the greater support of the people of the United Kingdom. At present, the Civil List was based on the notion that the Sovereign would willingly forfeit any revenue from the Crown Estate in return that the Commons fund the expenses of the crown. This practise dates back to the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, but most effectively under the reign of King George III is the 'hereditary possessions of the Sovereign' is the 'hereditary, to which the current agreement between Crown and Commons exists. As the new Grant would be based on a similar agreement between the Crown and the Commons, Her Majesty this very day has offered to continue to forfeit the revenue from the Crown Estate for herself and her successors as long as the Commons continue to fund the operations of the Palace.

The Crown Estate generates in excess of £200M per annum, of which Palace expenditure runs approximately around £40M, thus giving the Commons a surplus of £160M to do as they please in the best interest of the public, therefore showing that the crown is a self funding entity in its own right. Her Majesty’s letter to the Commons contained the following wording:

“Her Majesty desires that the hereditary revenues of the crown, for any period for which support is provided to any of Her successors, should be at the disposal of the House of Commons”.  

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/leg_sovereign_grant_graciousmsg_queen_commons_290611.pdf

With the forfeiture of revenue from the Crown Estate in regard to the new Sovereign Support Grant, Her Majesty is asking that a return be made to the Crown, which would be the covering of expenses from the very funds that she is to forfeit for the betterment of the nation. At the end of the day, it is the State who comes out better with this decision to fund the crown than Her Majesty, when all is said and done. If the Crown were to retain the revenue of the Crown Estate and pay for the expenses to operate the Palace directly, there would be a surplus of millions of pounds that could just be put into the coffers of the sovereign. However, our past sovereigns and our present monarch understand that the wealth of the nation is best shared with the people and not for the personal consumption of the crown. It is not unfair for the Crown to ask for the commons to fund the operations of the Palace out of the money it is being given, which causes some confusion amongst those less informed on the workings and funding of our government. By removing the commons from the appointment of funding to the crown and basing the new grant on a set percentage of the Crown Estates performance, the crown will therefore be recognised to be 100% self funding as it always has been, without the illusion of the Palace asking the Commons for money to fund its operations, that was not truly that of the State to begin with.

In light of this new Grant to fund the operations of the Crown, Republic have of course refuted the need to fund the operations of the Palace in which Republic spokesperson Graham Smith said:

"The Crown Estate is not – and never has been – the personal property of the royals. The Windsors have no more right to its revenue than I do. To claim that it should fund their lavish lifestyle is deceitful and dishonest."

As aforementioned, the Crown Estate is the 'hereditary possessions of the Sovereign' in which the Queen is the Sovereign, and therefore would have not just a hereditary, but legal claim to the Estate. The suggestion that the crown acts in a lavish manner and is rampant with deceit and dishonesty, is merely a personal thought by a republican which is clearly biased and unfounded based upon the work provided by and the value provided to the nation from the Crown.

"The Crown Estate is there to fund government and public services. If this deal goes through it will be a historic stitch up that will end up lining the royal family's pockets."

The revenue from the Crown Estate is graciously given at present annually to the Commons by the Sovereign, in return that the Commons fund the daily operations of the Palace. The proposed Sovereign Support Grant would eliminate the need of the Crown to ask the Commons for funding, and would therefore set the record straight that the crown is not funded by the Commons, but in fact by itself, therefore eliminating the rumors and exaggerations used by organisations such as Republic to claim that the Monarchy costs the tax payer a single red penny. The Royal family’s private wealth is not made up from funds from the current Civil List agreement, or the proposed Sovereign Support Grant, but through their own investments, private enterprise, and the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall that provide private income for the royal family. Republic knows exactly how the Queen and her family are funded, and are using the above referenced statement as a scare tactic to promote their own ideals and agenda.

"We've seen that the royals are unable to keep their spending under control. The new grant is likely to lead to even greater waste with less accountability. It will give the royal household even more freedom over its finances at exactly the time when its expenditure should be more tightly controlled."

The Monarchy has drastically reduced its expense by half over the last 20 years from over £80M to just under £40m currently. Her Majesty has allowed the crown to be more transparent as to how money is spent, and has been held accountable as to Palace expenses including that of Clarence House. The Palace does cost money to operate just like any other government sector or private corporation, it but does a better job at accounting for and reducing its expenses to keep within a budget that is grossly unfair and has not been increased in over a decade despite the rampant inflation in both goods and services. Westminster has made the Palace a budget enterprise which has seen reductions in staff, and the gross decay of the very buildings which are national treasures which happen to house not only the offices of the Queen, but the modest and accommodations of the royal family’s private apartments. Though the State rooms inside the palace may be lavish and gilded, Her Majesty is a naturally frugal person who does not partake in excess or the constant redecoration of her own private living quarters.

The Palace should say how its spends its own funds, and if they did have more control over how their funds were spent, Buckingham Palace would not be crumbling to the ground and would have already undergone the much needed repairs that must be made. If any component to government must have their finances more strictly controlled, it should be the Commons, as their waste is grossly in excess and extravagant, as their value for money is something less than can ever be achieved by the Palace.

"The office of the head of state should be funded like every other public body– through a budget agreed by Parliament and based on need."

The Office of the Head of State, not only funds itself, but helps to fund the Commons as already aforementioned. This office is not under the control of the Commons, but under the control of the people directly, for as long as the people believe in and support their sovereign, the crown is only accountable to the people, in which it serves and protects. If the Palace was funded by the Commons fairly, and according to “need”, then the Palace would have been given an increase in its expenditure over the last decade, as well as repairs made to both Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, in which crumbling debris could have almost killed the Princess Royal a few years ago when a loose piece of moulding came free from the palace and nearly crushed her car. If the Office of the Head of State was treated fairly and shown the same respect that it shows the people and the Commons, then there would be no issue as to the funding of the Palace or of the Commons itself through a direct forfeiture of revenue by Her Majesty for the greater good of the Kingdom.

The Sovereign Support Grant is a way for the Palace to fund itself without having to go cap in hand to Westminster for monies Parliament have been given by the Crown. With this agreement between the Palace and the Commons, it will be greater understood by the people, that the Monarchy is a self funded institution with no cost to the public, in which the public can enjoy the benefits and value given to the nation by an institution that not only funds itself, but funds a portion of the operations of Westminster. Given the claims by Republic which were dispelled above, it is a very rare and almost impossible occasion that we agree with Republic when they state and post on their website that: The Crown Estate is the 'hereditary possessions of the Sovereign'. With that being agreed upon, may the new Sovereign Support Grant continue its path to liberate the Palace from the negative notion that the monarchy is a direct cost to the public, in which the public has everything to gain through the great benefits and value for money that the existence of the Crown provides to the people.
 


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