London: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is setfor a 2.8 million pounds pay increase next year as her Crown Estate’s value rose 9.7 per cent to 12 billion pounds this year, it was reported today. The 90-year-old monarch made a record 304 million pounds for the UK Treasury after her estate, which owns London’s Regent Street and the entire UK seabed, had a hugely profitable year. The increase in the value of the estate means the monarch will get a 2.8 million pounds pay increase next year, marking a potential 6.5 per cent rise in the grant paid to cover her official duties.
Under the Sovereign Grant Act of 2011, the Queen receives the equivalent of 15 per cent of the profits of the estate’s property empire. In theory that means she would receive a grant of 45.6 million pounds in 2017-18, up on this year’s figure of 42.8 million pounds. However, the level of the grant is currently under review in talks between the UK government and Buckingham Palace. During a briefing to launch the report, Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said that the cost to the country last year of the Queen’s official duties and property maintenance, excluding security, came to 62 pound per person.
“Despite increased investment the condition of the estate is deteriorating at a faster rate than we have been able to respond,” he said. The Queen’s Crown Estate is an independent commercial property business and one of the largest property portfolios in the UK. This year it has reaped the benefits of a regeneration programme of London’s Regent Street and St James’s Park, where it lets out shops.
The estate belongs to the monarch for the duration of the reign, but cannot be sold and all profits go to the Treasury. The estate brought in 22.9 million pounds over the year from leasing the country’s seabed to offshore wind farms, a rise of nearly 20 per cent. Meanwhile, the heir to the throne also had a good year. Prince Charles’ private income from his Duchy of Cornwall estate, a portfolio of land, property and financial investments, rose by 3 per cent to 20.5 million pounds during the last financial year, and his tax bill increased by 531,000 pounds to just over 5 million.
The Duchy of Cornwall, which includes assets such as London’s Oval cricket ground and has the Isles of Scilly among its possessions, funds the private and official expenditure of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. The estate is given to the heir to the throne and comprises 53,628 hectares (132,518 acres) of land in 23 counties, mostly in the south-west of England. The prince also received 1.4 million pounds in funding from the Sovereign Grant and government departments during the period. PTI
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