The Queen Needs A Raise
This year's annual publication of the cost of the monarchy found a less receptive audience than usual as many people have been experiencing a diminishing of their own fortunes in the past year. Some have called for the monarchy to open the palaces up and sell tickets for tours in order to make more money for their expenses. In an article in The Guardian, Richard Bacon MP, who sits on the Commons public accounts committee, said that if the White House could be open for most of the year then Buckingham Palace could be too. This year, Buckingham Palace will be open from the end of July until the end of September.
Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse, defended the family, pointing out the fact that the Queen attended 400 engagements last year. He pointed out that the money each taxpayer pays to subsidize the Queen in her role as head of state works out to around 69 pence (around $1.15) per person. The spokesman for the anti-monarchy group Republic called this technique of justifying the expense a way of spinning the truth. While the Queen did not decided to go through with plans for a new private jet, the Royal Family will be taking possession of a new Sikorsky helicopter this summer.
There's no doubt that homes need regular upkeep and homes of great size and age requires a great deal of money for upkeep. This is why older families in England have been selling off estates for years to those with deeper pockets. The queen gets £7.9 million pounds of public money each year for basic expenses including staff costs and she also has a reserve fund built up by saving her budget but the cost of living and the cost of upkeep is mounting higher than her savings. The queen is expected to negotiate her budget next year and ask for a funding increase. If she continues to draw from her reserve fund she could deplete it by 2012.